March 2006 (Vol. XIX, No. 3)

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

BLESSINGS OF THE SILENCE be with you, dear friends! Our deepening heart-prayers are acts of radical and continual abandonment to the Divine Guest abiding within our Inner Sacred Chapel. Here we trust with confidence — whether alone or with others, waking or sleeping, working or resting. Extended periods spent in the silence basking in Love's Presence or yearning in loneliness can open the space for the Prayer of the Heart to well up and radiate the love and light that we are at the core. May we open our hearts in the Silence each day . . . and just BE.

As blood is to the body, prayer is to the soul

I always begin my prayer in silence, for it is in the silence of the heart that God speaks. God is the friend of silence, so we need to listen. For, it is not what we say, but what God says to us and through us that matters. Prayer feeds the soul — as blood is to the body, prayer is to the soul — and it brings us closer to God.

~ from A SIMPLE PATH by Mother Teresa
A Simple Path
By Mother Teresa

To pray is to pay attention to something or someone other than oneself

To pray is to pay attention to something or someone other than oneself. Whenever we so concentrate our attention that we completely forget our own ego and desires, we are praying.

~ W. H. Auden

When prayers are lived fully

Our prayers make the most sense when they are lived fully.

~ Anonymous

Prayer is a dipping of oneself toward the light

And as with prayer, which is a dipping of oneself toward the light, there is a consequence of attentiveness to the grass itself, and the sky itself, and to the floating bird. . . . I too dip myself toward the immeasurable.

~ from "Winter Hours" by Mary Oliver

Prayer is the beginning of an uprising against the disorder of the world

To clasp one's hands in prayer is the beginning of an uprising against the disorder of the world.

~ Karl Barth

Prayer obtains what it is due to obtain

Prayer obtains what it is due to obtain — not what I personally want to obtain, which is different. It is useful that islands of prayer exist in the world, even if they are composed of only one person, or two, or three, or four.

~ from THE INNER ADVENTURE by Louis Calaferte

Where Presence can be felt and where you can be submerged in unceasing prayer

My son opened my eyes to the unceasing nature of prayer in joyful moments which sometimes lie dormant in our hearts. I learn from him each day that God is in the little things — the things that can be found in the ordinary, here and now of life. Look in the minutiae of daily life in your everyday places, where Presence can be felt and where you can be submerged in unceasing prayer.

~ Yvonne Martinez Ward

What we need is here -- we pray to be quiet in heart

Geese appear high over us,
pass, and the sky closes. Abandon,
as in love or sleep, holds
them to their way, clear
in the ancient faith: what we need
is here. And we pray, not
for new earth or heaven, but to be
quiet in heart, and in eye
clear. What we need is here.

~ Wendell Berry

Prayerfulness is an awareness of Presence

Prayerfulness is an awareness of Presence … our "You are" to God in the quiet of our hearts and in the busyness of our lives. This awareness births a gentle passion within us — an ache and a longing of the heart — that is palpable. Through our prayerfulness, we become able to say to the One who is, "You created me in your image. You are. You have called me by name. You are. You provide for me. You are. You love me. You are. "Through our prayerfulness we discover that there is no place You are not.

~ from KNITTING INTO THE MYSTERY by S. S. Jorgensen and S. S. Izard

Being prayer includes time and space for lightness and beauty

There is a way of BEING prayer that is fully grounded in a personal relationship with the divine. It is the way of trust, in which we do not feel separate from the Source. The entrance to this way has everything to do with the sincerity and intention of the practice and little to do with the particular form of practice. Being prayer includes time and space for lightness and beauty.

~ from THE INSPIRED HEART by Jerry Wennstrom

Prayer is the motion of a hidden fire that trembles in the breast

Prayer is the soul's sincere desire
Uttered or unexpressed;
The motion of a hidden fire,
That trembles in the breast.

~ James Montgomery

Pray hypocritically, full of doubt and dry-mouthed

If you can't pray a real prayer, pray
hypocritically, full of doubt
and dry-mouthed.

God accepts counterfeit money
as though it were real.

~ Rumi

Prayer is not a mechanical activity, but a confrontation

The elder warned us not to pray while our hearts were steeped in unprayerful feelings, without thoughts wandering as they chose. Prayer is not a mechanical activity, but a confrontation, a conversation with the Holy Presence. Pray humbly, then, in awe of God.

~ from AN EARLY SOVIET SAINT, trans. by J. Ellis

Prayer as a simple trust in that presence

There was simply silence. And in that silence, as I gazed up at the sunlight sparkling through those high upper windows, or followed a secret tug drawing me down into my own heart, I began to know a prayer much deeper than "talking to God."

"Somewhere in those depths of silence I came upon my first experiences of God as a loving presence that was always near, and prayer as a simple trust in that presence.

~ from CENTERING PRAYER AND INNER AWAKENING by Cynthia Bourgeault

When we pray least

We pray least when we say most.

~ St. Augustine

Dear Pray-er

Dear Pray-er,
A soul not nourished by prayer is like
a barren desert:
Pray when you work.
Pray over every problem.
Pray when you are at home,
Pray with your family.
Pray when you watch the news,
Pray over the nations, the planet.
Pray in the Silence,
Become the Prayer.

~ Anonymous

My silence communing with the silence of God

Prayer is not so much conversation with God as my silence communing with the silence of God.

~ William Shannon

The desert challenges us to travel with prayer as our best companion

The Saguaro (barrel-chested cactus), arms uplifted as though in prayer, might remind us that for countless ages its desert home has been viewed by spiritual seekers as a special prayer space. In the long history of prayer, the desert has often been seen as a holy locale where seekers can travel light and encounter spiritual realities. The desert, whether of sand or of our inner souls, challenges us to see more clearly and to travel with prayer as our best companion.

~ from ONE HUNDRED CRANES by William J. Fitzgerald