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Word Gems 

exploring self-realization, sacred personhood, and full humanity


 

Prayer

 


 

 

"Prayer is not asking. Prayer is putting oneself in the hands of God, at His disposition, and listening to His voice in the depth of our hearts." Mother Teresa

 

 

Editor's 1-Minute Essay: Prayer

Father Robert Benson: How The Spirit World Answers Our Prayers

Editor's Essay: Commentary on Mark 11: "Believe that you have received your request when you pray and it will be yours."

Editor's Essay: A Review of Dr. Hew Len’s Ho’oponopono and related philosophies

 

 

  

 
 
Father Henri J.M. Nouwen, The Way of the Heart: "Three [priests] used to go and visit blessed Anthony ... every year, and two of them used to discuss their thoughts ... but the third always remained silent and did not ask him anything. After a long time, Abba Anthony said to him: 'You often come here to see me, but you never ask me anything,' and the other replied, 'It is enough to see you, Father.' This story is a fit ending to this book. By the time people feel that just seeing us is ministry, words such as these will no longer be necessary."
 
Mahatma Gandhi: “The inner voice is something which cannot be described in words. But sometimes we have a positive feeling that something in us prompts us to do a certain thing. The time when I learnt to recognise this voice was, I may say, the time when I started praying regularly.”

Amit Ray, Om Chanting and Meditation: “The easiest way to get touch with this universal power is through silent Prayer. Shut your eyes, shut your mouth, and open your heart. This is the golden rule of prayer. Prayer should be soundless words coming forth from the centre of your heart filled with love.”

Andrew Murray: “Humility is perfect quietness of heart. It is to expect nothing, to wonder at nothing that is done to me, to feel nothing done against me. It is to be at rest when nobody praises me, and when I am blamed or despised. It is to have a blessed home in the Lord, where I can go in and shut the door, and kneel to my Father in secret, and am at peace as in a deep sea of calmness, when all around and above is trouble.”

Mark 11:24: “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”

Anne Lamott, Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith: “Help is a prayer that is always answered. It doesn't matter how you pray - with your head bowed in silence, or crying out in grief, or dancing. Churches are good for prayer, but so are garages and cars and mountains and showers and dance floors. Years ago I wrote an essay that began, "Some people think that God is in the details, but I have come to believe that God is in the bathroom.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson: “The wise man in the storm prays God not for safety from danger but for deliverance from fear.”

 

 

"The Father cannot be offended. He has no forgiveness to give. He does not condemn; He does not punish, nor does He relegate to others either the power or the right to punish. The offences, which the great majority of mankind commit, are offences against natural laws, the laws that govern the spiritual nature of man, and those offences themselves react upon the one who commits them. We may offend fellowman, and we can, and we should, obtain his forgiveness. Then we can proceed to put ourselves in proper spiritual order."

READ MORE: Father Robert Benson, How The Spirit World Answers Our Prayers

 

 

Mahatma Gandhi: “Prayer is not asking. It is a longing of the soul. It is daily admission of one's weakness. It is better in prayer to have a heart without words than words without a heart.”

Father Henri J.M. Nouwen, The Way of the Heart: "Do not strive for verbosity ... The quiet repetition of a single word can help us to descend with the mind into the heart... can help us to concentrate, to move to the center, to create an inner stillness and thus listen to the voice of God... Such a simple, easily repeated prayer can slowly empty out our crowded interior life... Solitude is the furnace of transformation."

Abraham Lincoln (paraphrased): Telling a story during the Presidential campaign regarding the divided electorate: "Two ladies who were Quakers were overheard in conversation: 'I think Judge Douglas will be President!' - 'Why dost thou think so?' - "Because Judge Douglas is a praying man.' - 'So is Abraham Lincoln a praying man.' - 'Yes, but the Lord will think that Abraham is joking.'"

Søren Kierkegaard: “The function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays.”

 

 

Friedrich Nietzsche: “I cannot believe in a God who wants to be praised all the time.”

Sylvia Plath: “I talk to God but the sky is empty.”

Mother Teresa: “Prayer is not asking. Prayer is putting oneself in the hands of God, at His disposition, and listening to His voice in the depth of our hearts.”

Abraham Lincoln: "I know that the Lord is always on the side of the right; but it is my constant anxiety and prayer that I and this nation may be on the Lord's side."

Meister Eckhart: “If the only prayer you said was thank you, that would be enough.”

Abraham Lincoln: “I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go. My own wisdom and that of all about me seemed insufficient for that day.”

Mother Teresa: “The Simple Path, Silence is Prayer, Prayer is Faith, Faith is Love, Love is Service, The Fruit of Service is Peace”

L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables: “Why must people kneel down to pray? If I really wanted to pray I’ll tell you what I'd do. I'd go out into a great big field all alone or in the deep, deep woods and I'd look up into the sky—up—up—up—into that lovely blue sky that looks as if there was no end to its blueness. And then I'd just feel a prayer.”

John Bunyan: “In prayer it is better to have a heart without words than words without a heart.”

Mother Teresa, In the Heart of the World: Thoughts, Stories and Prayers: “In the silence of the heart God speaks. If you face God in prayer and silence, God will speak to you. Then you will know that you are nothing. It is only when you realize your nothingness, your emptiness, that God can fill you with Himself. Souls of prayer are souls of great silence.”

Vladimir Nabokov, Pale Fire: “Dear Jesus, do something.”

Billy Graham: "The Christian life is not a constant high. I have my moments of deep discouragement. I have to go to God in prayer with tears in my eyes, and say, 'O God, forgive me,' or 'Help me.'"

Mahatma Gandhi, The Story of My Experiments With Truth: “When every hope is gone, 'when helpers fail and comforts flee,' I find that help arrives somehow, from I know not where. Supplication, worship, prayer are no superstition; they are acts more real than the acts of eating, drinking, sitting or walking. It is no exaggeration to say that they alone are real, all else is unreal.”

John F. Kennedy: “Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men [quoting Reverend Phillips Brooks, during Remarks at Presidential Prayer Breakfast, February 7 1963].”

A.W. Tozer: “Sometimes I go to God and say, "God, if Thou dost never answer another prayer while I live on this earth, I will still worship Thee as long as I live and in the ages to come for what Thou hast done already. God’s already put me so far in debt that if I were to live one million millenniums I couldn’t pay Him for what He’s done for me.”

Nicholas Sparks, Three Weeks With My Brother: “I don't pray because it doesn't work. Prayer doesn't fix anything. Bad things happen anyway.”

Frederick Douglass, Autobiographies: “I prayed for freedom for twenty years, but received no answer until I prayed with my legs.”

 

 

Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov: “Be not forgetful of prayer. Every time you pray, if your prayer is sincere, there will be new feeling and new meaning in it, which will give you fresh courage, and you will understand that prayer is an education.”

Brennan Manning, Souvenirs of Solitude: Finding Rest in Abba's Embrace: “Lord, when I feel that what I'm doing is insignificant and unimportant, help me to remember that everything I do is significant and important in your eyes, because you love me and you put me here, and no one else can do what I am doing in exactly the way I do it.”

Christopher Hitchens, Mortality: “The man who prays is the one who thinks that god has arranged matters all wrong, but who also thinks that he can instruct god how to put them right.”

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18: “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” NIV – “Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” KJV

George Carlin: “And here's something else, another problem you might have: Suppose your prayers aren't answered. What do you say? "Well, it's God's will." "Thy Will Be Done." Fine, but if it's God's will, and He's going to do what He wants to anyway, why the fuck bother praying in the first place? Seems like a big waste of time to me! Couldn't you just skip the praying part and go right to His Will? It's all very confusing.”

Henry Ward Beecher: "It is not well for a man to pray cream and live skim milk."

Fanny J. Crosby: “God will answer your prayers better than you think. Of course, one will not always get exactly what he has asked for....We all have sorrows and disappointments, but one must never forget that, if commended to God, they will issue in good....His own solution is far better than any we could conceive.”

Marilynne Robinson, Home: “She knew that was not an honest prayer, and she did not linger over it. The right prayer would have been, Lord . . . I am miserable and bitter at heart, and old fears are rising up in me so that everything I do makes everything worse.”

Philippians 4:6-7, NIV: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds...”

Thérèse de Lisieux: “For me, prayer is a surge of the heart; it is a simple look turned toward heaven, it is a cry of recognition and of love, embracing both trial and joy.”

Lily Tomlin: “Why is it that when we talk to God we’re said to be praying, but when God talks to us we’re schizophrenic?”

Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet: “You pray in your distress and in your need; would that you might pray also in the fullness of your joy and in your days of abundance.”

L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables: “’God's in His heaven, all’s right with the world', whispered Anne softly.”

Matthew 6:7, NIV: “And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.”

Francis of Assisi: “We should seek not so much to pray but to become prayer.”

Eric Clapton: “I found my God in music and the arts, with writers like Hermann Hesse, and musicians like Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, and Little Walter. In some way, in some form, my God was always there, but now I have learned to talk to him.”

Albert Schweitzer: “O heavenly Father, protect and bless all things that have breath: guard them from all evil and let them sleep in peace.”

Joseph Smith Jr.: “The best way to obtain truth and wisdom is not to ask from books, but to go to God in prayer, and obtain divine teaching.”

Matthew 5:44, NIV: “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones: “Prayer is beyond any question the highest activity of the human soul. Man is at his greatest and highest when … he comes face to face with God.”

Karl Rahner, The Need and the Blessing of Prayer: “When man is with God in awe and love, then he is praying.”

Amit Ray, Meditation: Insights and Inspirations: “When you touch the celestial in your heart, you will realize that the beauty of your soul is so pure, so vast and so devastating that you have no option but to merge with it. You have no option but to feel the rhythm of the universe in the rhythm of your heart.”

Father Henri J.M. Nouwen, Life of the Beloved: Spiritual Living in a Secular World: “The real 'work' of prayer is to become silent and listen to the voice that says good things about me. To gently push aside and silence the many voices that question my goodness and to trust that I will hear the voice of blessing-- that demands real effort. ”

James Hudson Taylor: “When I cannot read, when I cannot think, when I cannot even pray, I can trust.”

Jennifer Elisabeth: “I met a boy whose eyes showed me that the past, present and future were all the same thing.”

Lois McMasterBujold, The Curse of Chalion: “The gods' most savage curses come upon us as answers to our own prayers. Prayer is a dangerous business.”

Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love: “Where did you get the idea you aren't allowed to petition the universe with prayer? You are part of this universe, Liz. You're a constituent - you have every entitlement to participate in the actions of the universe, and to let your feelings be known. So, put your opinion out there. Make your case. Believe me--it will at least be taken into consideration.”

Dr. Eben Alexander, Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon's Journey into the Afterlife: “Communicating with God is the most extraordinary experience imaginable, yet at the same time it's the most natural one of all, because God is present in us at all times. Omniscient, omnipotent, personal-and loving us without conditions. We are connected as One through our divine link with God.”

George Carlin: “You know who I pray to? Joe Pesci. Two reasons: First of all, I think he's a good actor, okay? To me, that counts. Second, he looks like a guy who can get things done. Joe Pesci doesn't fuck around. In fact, Joe Pesci came through on a couple of things that God was having trouble with.”

Charles Haddon Spurgeon: “Groanings which cannot be uttered are often prayers which cannot be refused.”

Brennan Manning, Abba's Child: The Cry of the Heart for Intimate Belonging: “As we come to grips with our own selfishness and stupidity, we make friends with the impostor and accept that we are impoverished and broken and realize that, if we were not, we would be God. The art of gentleness toward ourselves leads to being gentle with others -- and is a natural prerequisite for our presence to God in prayer.”

Joseph Murphy, The Power of Your Subconscious Mind: “Prayer is the soul's sincere desire. Your desire is your prayer. It comes out of your deepest needs and it reveals the things you want in life.”

Jodi Picoult, Sing You Home: “Prayer is like water - something you can't imagine has the strength or power to do any good, and yet give it time and it can change the lay of the land.”

Robin Jones Gunn, Surprise Endings: “Sometimes the best answers to prayer are the ones God doesn't answer.”

Teresa of Ávila, The Life of Saint Teresa of Ávila by Herself: “It is of great importance, when we begin to practise prayer, not to let ourselves be frightened by our own thoughts.”

Henri Matisse: “I don't know whether I believe in God or not. I think, really, I'm some kind of a Buddhist. But the essential thing is to put oneself in a frame of mind which is close to that of prayer.”

Franz Kafka: “Writing is prayer.”

Janis Joplin: “Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz?”

Abraham Joshua Heschel, Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity: Essays “The primary purpose of prayer is not to make requests. The primary purpose is to praise, to sing, to chant.”

George Eliot, Daniel Deronda: “The most powerful movement of feeling with a liturgy is the prayer which seeks for nothing special, but is a yearning to escape from the limitations of our own weakness and an invocation of all Good to enter and abide with us.”

Robert A. Heinlein, Job: A Comedy of Justice: “A long and wicked life followed by five minutes of perfect grace gets you into Heaven. An equally long life of decent living and good works followed by one outburst of taking the name of the Lord in vain—then have a heart attack at that moment and be damned for eternity. Is that the system?”

Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek: Eskimo: "If I did not know about God and sin, would I go to hell?" Priest: "No, not if you did not know." Eskimo: "Then why did you tell me?"

Charles Smith (1887-1964): “The leading characters of the Old Testament would today be in the penitentiary and those of the New would be under observation in psychopathic wards.”

Sojouner Truth (1851): “That man says women can't have as much rights as men, because Christ wasn't a woman. Where did your Christ come from? From God and a woman. Man had nothing to do with him.”

Peter Kay: “When I was a kid I used to pray every night for a new bike. Then I realised that The Lord doesn't work that way, so I stole one and asked him to forgive me.”

Ambrose Bierce, The Enlarged Devil's Dictionary: “Pray: To ask the laws of the universe to be annulled on behalf of a single petitioner confessedly unworthy.”

Delos B. McKown: “The invisible and the non-existent look very much alike.”

Donald Morgan: "Jesus' last words on the cross, ‘My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?’ hardly seem like the words of a man who planned it that way. It doesn't take Sherlock Holmes to figure there is something wrong here."

 

 

Editor's last word: