Prayer is listening to the voice that calls us ‘My Beloved.’ Underneath all the noisy voices is a still, small voice that says, ‘You are My Beloved, My favor rests on you.’ That is the voice we need to hear most of all. To hear this voice, though, requires effort, solitude, a willing heart and determination.
Here are a few of my favorite prayers, some quite old, yet timeless. Would you like to add any special ones of your own?
“If the only prayer you say in your entire life is ‘Thank you,’ that would suffice.”
Meister Eckhart (German, Dominican theologian and mystic 1260-1328)
“The time for healing of the wounds has come…
The time to build is upon us…
We pledge ourselves to liberate all our people
From the continuing bondage of poverty, deprivation, suffering, gender and other discriminations.
There is no easy road to freedom.
None of us acting alone can achieve success.
We must, therefore, act together as a united people,
For reconciliation, for nation-building, for the birth of a new world.”
Nelson Mandela (South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, politician 1918-2013)
“I am the one whose praise echos on high.
I adorn all the earth.
I am the breeze that nurtures all things green.
I encourage blossoms to flourish with ripening fruits,
I am led by the spirit to feed the purest streams.
I am the rain coming from the dew that causes the grasses to laugh with the joy of life.
I am the yearning for good.”
Hildegard of Bingen (German Benedictine Abbess, writer, composer, mystic, visionary 1098-1179)
Thus says God to these bones: “I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live.” (Ezekiel 37:5)
“There I am
in Ezekiel’s valley,
one heap among many,
just another stack of old, dry bones.
Some Mondays feel this way,
and Tuesdays, too, to say nothing of
Wednesday, Thursday, Friday.
Lost dreams and forgotten pleasures,
sold like a soul to a gluttonous world feeding on my frenzy
and anxious activity.
but just when
the old heap of bones
seems most dry
the strong Breath of Life stirs among my dead.
Someone named God
comes to my fragments
and asks, with twinkling eye:
‘May I have this dance?’
the Voice stretches into me,
a stirring leaps in my heart,
lifting up the bones of death.
Then I offer my waiting self to the One who’s never stopped believing in me,
And the dance begins.”
Joyce Rupp – May I Have This Dance, Ava Maria Press, 1992
For further enrichment, check out http://joycerupp.com.
Prayer is the bridge between our conscious and unconscious lives to where God lives in us in a most intimate way. Let us all ‘try’ to give ourselves the gift of dwelling with the Divine, the God, who loves us beyond our wildest imaginings.
God waits for us to express our fears (most of the time false evidence appearing real) and as we acknowledge them and look to the Lord, we are surrounded by His presence. God’s love, power and comfort relieve the burden of fear and we are able to walk in strength and joy and ultimately encourage others. May we stay in the peace of the Lord!
There are a multitude of definitions about Prayer and each one of us has a different, favorite way to pray. I heard someone ask, ‘What is the best way to pray?’ The answer was ‘The one you do.’ Suffice to say, talking to our Higher Power, praying rote prayers, reading the bible, celebrating liturgy, whatever, all can bring a balance of peace and calm and help us to connect to the Divine within ourselves.
To give us further insight, here are a few excerpts from “Prayer Our Deepest Longing” by Ronald Rolheiser. (Franciscan Media, Cincinnati, Ohio 2013) Page 7 - ”If we take seriously that prayer is ‘lifting mind and heart to God,’ then every feeling and every thought we have is a valid and apt entry into prayer, no matter how irreverent, unholy, selfish, sexual, or angry that thought or feeling might seem.”
Page 9 – “What God is asking is that we bring our helplessness, weaknesses, imperfections, and sin constantly to Him, that we walk with Him and that we never hide from Him. God is a good parent. He understands that we will make mistakes and disappoint Him and ourselves. What God asks is simply that we come home, that we share our lives with Him, that we let Him help us in those ways in which we are powerless to help ourselves.”
Page 39 – “Ultimately, prayer is about love, not insight. It is meant to establish friendship. Friendship, as we know, is not as much a question of having insight into each other’s lives, as it is of mutually touching each other in affection and understanding. Friendship, as St. John of the Cross puts it, is a question of attaining ‘boldness with each other.’ When we have touched each others lives deeply, we can be bold with each other. We can then ask each other for help, ask each other to be present without needing an excuse, or share our deepest feelings. Good friendship inspires boldness. The object of prayer is precisely to try to attain this kind of ‘boldness’ with God, to try to reach a point where we are comfortable enough with God to ask for help, just as we would a trusted friend. But to reach this kind of trust we first must let God touch us in the heart, not just in insight. This means prayer is not so much a question of having beautiful thoughts about God as it is of feeling God’s affection for us.”
Let us connect with our Creator and open ourselves to receiving God’s love, no matter our human condition. I hope you are as consoled as I am, with Father Rolheieiser’s words, (Page 62) “There is no hell of wound, depression, fear, sickness or even bitterness – that God’s love cannot and will not descend into. Once there, it will breathe out the peace of the Holy Spirit.”
We welcome comments or suggestions for other books on prayer.