March 2005 (Vol. XVIII, No. 3)

"Is there enough Silence for the Word to be heard?"

Blessings of Spring renewal to you, dear friends! A prayer may be calling to you, silently budding in the sacred temple of your innermost being, a fragile prayer for you to nurture into birth, response, and action. Blessed are you who listen to the soul-songs waiting to be sung in your heart.

Born for prayer

We were born for inspiration, sweet melodies, and prayers.

~ Pushkin

The seed of prayer is sown in heaven

The seed of prayer is sown in heaven.
It pushes its stem toward the earth
and comes to grow there.
It produces an abundance of fruit.
Then, as it becomes seed once more,
it thrusts its way back to heaven.

~ Jukichi Yagi

Set on fire by the Spirit

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

~ Anonymous

The whole world is a prayer mat

For those who have come to know God,
the whole world is a prayer mat.

~ Bawa M.

In prayer we shift the center of living from self-consciousness to self-surrender

We do not step out of the world when we pray; we merely see the world in a different setting. The self is not the hub, but the spoke of the revolving wheel. In prayer we shift the center of living from self-consciousness to self-surrender. God is the center, the Source, toward which all forces tend, and we are the flowing, the ebb and flow of God's tides. Prayer takes the mind out of the narrowness of self-interest, and enables us to see the world in the mirror of the holy.

~ from I ASKED FOR WONDER by Abraham Joshua Heschel thanks to Amy Bradfield

Prayer is a courageous, ancient gesture

The creative act is a courageous, ancient gesture, a dynamic prayerful exploration of the dark mystery that is human existence. When I finally identified this face of creativity as sacred practice, I built a small altar in my studio and my work took on a depth of meaning it never had. Prayer and art suddenly meshed and became refined. It wasn't done in pursuit of holiness as I'd been taught in the child's corner of my life. Prayer became synonomous with art as an authentic expression of my entire complex Self.

~ Adriana Diaz in THE SOUL OF CREATIVITY ed. by T. P. Myers

The most perfect prayer

The most perfectr prayer breathes in a heart that remains silent before God and knows how to listen to God.

~ Augustine Ichiro Okumura

The purpose of prayer

The purpose of prayer is to find God's will and to make that will our own.

~ Catherine Marshall

Pray, pray always

The last time I saw Fr. Bede, I asked for his blessing and one final word of advice.

He held my face in his hands and then said, "Pray, pray always!"

And he went back to his prayers.

~ Andrew Harvey in ONE HEART ed. B. L. Kuchler

Time for God alone

Adoration in prayer is time for God alone.

~ Douglas Steere

I am giving Thee worship with my whole life

I am giving Thee worship with my whole life,
I am giving Thee assent with my whole power,
I am giving Thee praise with my whole tongue,
I am giving Thee honor with my whole utterance.

I am giving Thee lovfe with my whole devotion,
I am giving Thee kneeling with my whole desire,
I am giving Thee affefction with my whole sense,
I am giving Thee my existence with my whole mind.
I am giving Thee my soul, O God of all ages.

~ from The Carmina Gadelica with thanks to Gay Grissom

Prayer creates a quiet palce within us

Prayer creates a quiet place within us where we can go at any time regardless of what is taking place around us. In this quiet place, we are constantly aware of God's presence. By practicing self-restraint in speech and maintaining this quiet place within, we will be aware of the presence of God. Then when we do speak, our words will break down the barriers between this world and the next. Words are the tools of the material world, while silence is the mystery of the spiritual realm. A love of silence is the surest and safest way to find our true selves, fulfillment and joy.

~ from A CALL TO JOY by Matthew Kelly thanks to S. Evangelita Spechthold

Be constant in your practice

Be constant in your practice, and one day the One who gave you the desire for the prayer of the heart will give you that prayer itself. When your heart's intention is fixed on God, it will keep lit the incense of your prayer, and wind of distraction will not put it out. do not worry about stray thoughts; they may come and go, but they will not take your attention away from God.

~ Romuald of Ravenna

Prayer invites us to become aware of the living interaction

Prayer invites us to become aware of the living interaction between the transparent God, who will remain always beyond all we can think or imagine, and the immanent God, who abides deep in our heart. As we become aware of this sacred encounter, we become, ourselves, a place where God's dream is becoming incarnate in our own personal life. We enter into a personal and intimate relationship with the Author of our being.

~ from CLOSE TO THE HEART by Margaret Silf

Not so much praying as being prayed through

We often consider prayer a deliberate act, something that we choose to do, or not. In the 18th century, William Law knew better:

"As the heart willeth and worketh, such, and no other, is its prayer.... For this is the necessity of our nature: pray we must, as sure as our heart is alive; therefore, when the state of our heart is not a spirit of prayer to God, we pray without ceasing to some, or other, part of the creation."

Perhaps as we learn what "part of creation" we have been praying to without knowing it, we can enlarge and re-focus our prayer, until we find that we are not so much praying as being prayed through, and all our own best hopes and the hopes of the world are flowing through us.

~ Mary C. Morrison