March 1999 (Vol. XII, No. 3)

BLESSINGS, dear friends, as we enter the Spring season ... a time to pause in prayer and enter the silence of our hearts, where the breathing of the Divine Guest lives and loves within us.

To pray is to discover God's oasis hidden in the desert of the soul

To pray is to discover God's oasis hidden in the desert of the soul. True prayer is the wellspring force of divine life flowing in the "transparent" soul of one whose trust is fully centered in God. This divine force, secret and strong, gently inspires all those who seek the truth; it will reunite them one day, beyond time and space, in the cosmic and eternal world. At the extremity of prayer words vanish, or rather the "silence-become-word" surpasses all that can be uttered. Prayer becomes the silence of Love, and this silence reveals the "I" in its deepest aspects; and, should words suddenly arise in prayer, we must regard them as fruits of love that send us back to silence.

~ from AWAKENING TO PRAYER by A. I. Okumura with thanks to Ana Maria Jones

An outer visible sign of an inward communion

Prayer may take the shape of sacrifice, supplication, adoration or meditation; it may even appear in simple daily acts of kindness; but it is always the outer visible sign of an inward communion with the Divine.

~ Normandi Ellis

Prayer is a silent language

Prayer, the one language we all can use, is at its deepest a silent language.

~ Elizabeth Yates

We no longer sense the need to speak

At some time in the life of prayer, we may come to a point where we no longer sense the need to speak. We simply wish to be still in the presence of God. We become forgetful of self. We set aside who we are and what we think we need. For a brief time we open completely to the Loving One who seeks to fill us and make us whole. Such moments leave within us deep reminders. From them we learn of the love that continues with us in the center of all things. If we find ourselves drawn into stillness, the wisest thing we can do is accept the gift of this. Accept the gift ... and know love.

~ from ANSWERING LOVE'S CALL by Stephen V. Doughty

Grant me the grace to long for You

Creator,
grant me the grace to long for You
and not my illusions of You,

to know You as love's questions
rather than as binding answers.

to rest in the hope
of what I do not understand about You,

and to be forever willing
to give up what I know about You
in order to seek You afresh.

~ Paula Duvall thanks to Kathy McGrane

The silent center of prayer: the poverty of darkness

At midnight the whole valley lay suspended in the mountain's spell. This was the silent center of prayer: the quiet, the poverty of darkness that made you appreciate the light. Everything bright was pure gift at midnight and praise rose to your lips for the God of the moon and stars; and if you saw a fire burning in the valley, you felt warm and somehow connected with those countless fires that burn in the hearts of people everywhere. You knew communion. And that was the great secret of prayer.

~ from JUNIPER by Murray Bodo

We are experiencing ourselves and our lives as uttered by God

In prayer we are neither on the one hand dialoguing with an outside source who utters messages from without, nor are we simply talking to ourselves. We are reaching deeply into ourselves and sensing more clearly that we are in God's knowledge and love. We are discovering the Divine within us. We are experiencing ourselves and our lives as uttered by God, and we listen.

~ from PRAYING OUR EXPERIENCES by Joseph F. Schmidt

We are experiencing ourselves and our lives as uttered by God

In prayer we are neither on the one hand dialoguing with an outside source who utters messages from without, nor are we simply talking to ourselves. We are reaching deeply into ourselves and sensing more clearly that we are in God's knowledge and love. We are discovering the Divine within us. We are experiencing ourselves and our lives as uttered by God, and we listen.

~ from PRAYING OUR EXPERIENCES by Joseph F. Schmidt

Forget the experts for a while

This is the only message I've been getting in prayer these days: "Forget the experts for a while. Trust your own experience." You are an offspring of the One who said, "I am who I am." If the One who gave you birth lives within you, surely you can find some resources there in your sacred Center... Remember, you are splendor!

~ from A TREE FULL OF ANGELS by Macrina Wiederkehr

Set on fire by the Spirit

To pray is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming set on fire by the Spirit!

~ Nan Merrill

We did not attempt to solve our problems amidst the noise of the camp fire

Those who are accustomed to meditate will know that at a certain point you can touch the great silence, the center, the source of all good... Would that men and women would seek silence more often, as we used to do in past ages. In our Indian days we who had the welfare of the people at heart would climb high into the mountains to meditate at the rising and the setting of the sun, and we would not leave our post until we had an answer to our prayer. We did not attempt to solve our problems amidst the noise of the camp fire, but repaired to the mountain top -- not only the physical mountain, but the mountain of high consciousness. We recognized the great power which lay in the silence.

~ White Eagle in SUN MEN OF THE AMERICAS by Grace Cooke
Sun Men of the Americas
By Grace Cooke

Help us to sort living truths from dying customs

O God, in this time of change and unrest, help us to sort living truths from dying customs. Help us to have both the courage to look beyond the expected and familiar ways and the humility to recognize the wisdom of them.

~ from PLAIN PRAYER IN A COMPLICATED WORLD by Avery Brooke

When we pray, we don't change the world, we change ourselves

Prayer is not a way to get what we want to happen, like the remote control that comes with the television set. I think prayer may be less about asking for the things we are attached to than it is about relinquishing our attachments in some way. It can take us beyond fear, which is an attachment, and beyond hope, which is another form of attachment. It can help us remember the nature of the world and the nature of life, not on an intellectual level but in a deep and experiential way. When we pray, we don't change the world, we change ourselves.

~ from KITCHEN TABLE WISDOM by Rachel Naomi Remen

Prayers are not plea bargains

Prayers are not plea bargains. They are acts of adoration.

~ John R. Aurelio
Fables for God's People
By John R. Aurelio

True prayer demands that we be more passive than active

By our prayer we share the life of God. True prayer demands that we be more passive than active; it requires more silence than words, more adoration than study, more concentration than rushing about, more faith than reason. The highest state of prayer is to be children in the arms of Love: silent, loving, rejoicing.

~ from LETTERS FROM THE DESERT by Carlo Carretto
Letters from the Desert
By Carlo Carretto

Counting the cost of honest prayer

There is a sense in which people must count the cost of honest prayer. The answer to prayer may be a demand for something we would much rather avoid doing. If it is truly the Divine Lover who is encountered, we may be very uncomfortable. Idols of our own making have a way of making us feel comfortable and at ease with things as they are. The God of justice/love is the One who calls us out of complacency so that we share divine discontent with a world which worships death. We are met and challenged to live as people of the light in a world that loves the darkness... This fear of what God may open our eyes to see may, in fact, lie behind our own resistance to God, our fear of prayer and silence.

~ from RESURRECTION: Release From Oppression by Morton Kelsey