There are as many ways to pray as there are people praying. But what is it, exactly? Maybe it’s easier to answer what it isn’t: a flamboyant show, a chance to pose and preen publicly, a subterfuge, a droning recitation of memorized but not considered words.
What prayer actually is, though, is more complicated: a bridge between ourselves and the mysterious, a chance to become small, and yet fully individual, in a vastness, an experience of awe. Mary Oliver’s definition above in her poem Praying is lovely: a doorway into thanks. Consider the whole poem:
It doesn’t have to be
The blue iris, it could be
Weeds in a vacant lot, or a few
Small stones; just
Pay attention, then patch
A few words together and don’t try
To make them elaborate,
This isn’t a contest but the doorway
Into thanks, and a silence in
Which another voice may speak.
Pay attention; see the beauty around you; give thanks. Rinse and repeat.
It is a powerful reminder that we are God’s children and He is always there to listen.
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Yes! Thanks, Matt!