7 Thoughts on Prayer

  1. Prayer is a relationship of intimacy not a transaction that transmits information to a distant God. As with any relationship of intimacy prayer is about presence. We open and make ourselves available to the other even as we offer and give ourselves to the other.
  2. Prayer begins with God. Our praying is in reality a response to what God initiates. Perhaps our prayer is the “Amen” to God’s prayer.
  3. Prayer is about a way of being more than it is about words, actions, or results. It is a means by which the Uncreated and the Created, the Creator and the Creature, are united and entwined in mutual self-disclosure.
  4. Pray as if you see God and if you are unable to do this pray as if God sees you (adapted from the Hadith of Gabriel).
  5. Pray with the knowledge, belief, and assumption that God is always and already present. Why do so many meetings begin with the prayer, “Dear Lord, please be with us?” Do we start with the assumption that God is not there? The issue is not whether God is with us but whether we are with God.
  6. How and for what we pray can reveal who and how we believe God to be.
  7. How is your prayer?” As our prayer goes, so goes our life. Daily life and prayer are integrally related. I am not speaking here of prayer that seeks to accomplish a result or achieve an outcome but prayer that sustains, enlivens, and awakens. “Prayer is the test of everything.”

What are some of your thoughts on prayer?

An Aymara woman praying in bolivia
An Aymara woman praying in Bolivia (source)

17 thoughts on “7 Thoughts on Prayer

  1. Praying always affects me. My experience is that some prayers have specific effects and I suppose I use them, if you will, like tools. Especially The Lord’s Prayer. As I pray those reassuring words, I feel like I am reaching into my pocket…Our Father… and taking out a compass to get my bearings…Who art in heaven…. I hold it level before me…Thy kingdom come…and open it…Thy will be done… then find North on the horizon…On earth as it is in heaven. I guess you could say I pray to find my way.


    1. Colleen, that is such great imagery and metaphor. Beautiful. Thank you. I too have experienced prayer as finding my and also finding myself.

      Peace be with you,


  2. My thoughts on prayer- an awakening of self in response to God’s abiding presence in all creation and as a result the kindling of a desire to do good in the world.


  3. Good thoughts on prayer. Thank you. I’ll be writing you soon; am behind on communication with you! So glad Susan got to come to be with you on Monday! Glad and thankful. Appreciation & many blessings, Jan


    1. John, I do know that book. It has been helpful and formative for me. I see the “unceasing prayer” the pilgrim seeks not so much as an activity but a way of being and an orientation that directs and guides his life.

      Peace be with you,


      1. Yes. Those were my thoughts. It is a very peaceful read. Do you know other books that are similar or perhaps set in the same period? I have read one Merton book.


        1. John, are you familiar with Br. Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence of God, or Thomas Kelly, A Testament of Devotion? These are not in the Jesus Prayer tradition but do focus on prayer as presence and a way of being. Lawrence was a 17th century Carmelite kitchen monk and learned about the ordinary duties as a way of prayer. Kelly was a 20th century Quaker. For an in-depth discussion of the Jesus Prayer you might look at A Night on the Holy Mountain by Metropoitan Hierotheos. It is a fine book; deep, challenging, and experiential.

          I hope this is helpful. Let me know if you were looking for something else.



  4. Thank you for this. Any recommendations for someone trying to recover from a prayer life characterized by pleading for presence or from a view of prayer as the magic control spell?


  5. I always feel inspired by Julian of Norwich “for the whole purpose of our prayer is concentrated into the sight and contemplation of him to whom we pray, feeling marvellous joy, reverent fear and such great sweetness and delight in him that at that moment we can only pray as he moves us”. I’m always recommending her to my prayer group.
    Thank you for your thoughts on prayer – I enjoy reading your blog.


    1. Thanks, Lydia, for reading my blog and for sharing Julian’s words. That quotation reminds me of her description of “oneing” the soul to God.

      God’s peace be with you,


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