Prayer as a Boat


??????????What is it about prayer that draws or repels people? There are those who find it as unsubstantiated or irrelevant as the idea that there are other planets supporting life. People scoff at prayer, perhaps think anyone foolish enough to believe in it deserves the result– undoubtedly nothing, the naysayers state. For some it is a critical discipline their faith requires. For others, a spontaneous plea. Many fall back on it when everyday words will not address their need. And others use the very words “prayer” or “praying” as they talk as a sort of protection, to salvage or to inspire, as if it’s very invocation will work the miracles desired. I understand the urge. But prayer goes so much deeper that it can carry us away. Look to the mystics, the holy men and women, and how prayer can shape everything.

If you don’t believe in the path of prayer, then you have stopped reading. If you do or are uncertain perhaps you will let me offer a few more ruminations. It appears those who pray may or may not state belief in Divinity, may not attend a place of worship regularly or at all, and might even deny they are praying when they look as if they are. They explain that they talk to “something”, deep inside their own hearts, their higher minds perhaps, or find a ubiquitous energy experienced within nature’s confounding ways.

Prayer is a vehicle that creates and then carries a language particular to itself. I don’t mean it need always (or ever) retain a certain form or word count. Rather, it can find its own way. It is often imbued with profound feeling, searching questions or even demands. Offered up as a gift or request or a painful need, it is meant to refresh or make a stronger connection to that Other, God, and gain more understanding. Hope when it has been confounded by trials. Clarification of our lives, our paths.

A prayer may be words so often repeated that we have them memorized. It can transfix us, entreat us to go further. It may become wordless, a meditation that moves us into a realm where God seems greatly illumined within and without. A sacred unity. Have you reached for prayer and found yourself emptied of words? We listen better then; we find we know more of the answer than we imagined. We discover that Divine Love absolutely recognizes our thoughts and needs, so praying is becoming present, attuned. Aligning our souls with Spirit, a most natural phenomenon.

I am Christian but I am not writing about specific religious creeds. I came into the world certain of the abiding presence of God. Prayer for me is the language of true, whole living, a bridge that takes us from smallness of self to a greater sense of good. To the infinite source of wisdom and compassion. Without prayer I likely would not have managed to stay afloat during the often perilous voyage through the years. It is an–at least, my–ancient, sturdy boat, the underpinning that holds up my living. It refreshes, instructs and frees me. Heals the sore places and recalibrates parts that are out of sync. Redeems my petty ego with grace. It is a tool God gave us so we would not be alone, no matter what.

Prayer finds me wandering and takes me back home again. I call out and I am answered with unshakeable, encompassing Love. I don’t need every detail for direction. The responses may sometimes mystify me. But I know God knows us. If I welcome God I will understand my own heart, mind and soul more completely.

Prayer will find the words for me when I am seeking truth. All I have to do is open to its gift, the magnitude of connecting to the sacred. And today, on the eve of Thanksgiving, I am moved to pray for us all.

Prayer for Us All/Giving Thanks

Let us speak of vividness, the living
who zigzag through days and nights
stunned with self-importance, or
who become brave or transformed,
are found weakened or terrified,
who confront evil with numinous light
or fall under a burden of emptiness.

May we hold close to the certain Center,
may we find this miracle river bright;
may we answer as our names are called,
Let One Love embrace without restraint.

Let us speak of the everywhere dying,
(our flesh made for bounty yet fragile),
of those who cling to the mad glory of life
or fight to wake as long sleep closes in,
who have no time left to share common joys
yet flare and float within the singing dark.

May we hold close to the certain Center,
may we keep this miracle river bright;
may we answer as our names are called,
Let One Love embrace without restraint.

Let us speak of myriad souls now gone,
they who gave us form and voice,
who knew the finite, intimate ways
of humankind, or came to believe that
life’s velocity held times of giving, forgiving,
and left a labyrinth of trails to use, recreate.

May we hold close to the certain Center,
may we share this miracle river bright;
may we answer as our names are called,
Let One Love embrace without restraint.

4 thoughts on “Prayer as a Boat

  1. Beautiful prayer. Thank you.
    I pray openly, speak of God’s promise when I feel called to do so. Growing up we had one parent that claimed to be agnostic, another, an atheist. We were allowed to attend church if we so chose. Many of us did.
    In my early thirties I took classes to understand the teachings of my chosen church. The comfort and peace I found was magnificent, so much so that I have yet to find a new church home after moving, but God does not live within a building, he resides within our soul. The Holy Trinity is my refuge, my true home.
    Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

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