Prayer is the soul’s sincere desire.

If you have not yet read the “Purpose” tab, please do so. The aim of this blog is to involve open discussion about belief. Positive discussion, not debate or argument.

Last week’s post was about belief in God. I testified of what I believe Him to be, and a few of you commented on your relationship to God as well. We all have had different experiences with God. Each of us are unique, and naturally we all have our own personal relationship with Him. I wish to speak today about how we communicate to God. This is a basic concept, but practiced extremely differently amongst people throughout this world.

I had an opportunity to live in an extremely diverse city in the United States. Jacksonville, Florida, is unique for this reason: it is the home to refugees and immigrants from all over the world. Just south of downtown is an apartment complex called “Sable Palms”. It is off Emerson Street, just East of Hendricks, right by a delicious barbeque joint. I have met everyone in that complex, because I used to go there all of the time. Every door was a new experience, because everyone that lived there was from out of the country. I ate ostrich legs there with a Burmese family. I spoke with a Persian woman named Shannaz who got into a wreck at Taco Bell in the drive through. I met some Vietnamese youth who played the guitar, a Liberian pastor,  a drunk from Bosnia, the list goes on and on! I mention this experience because no matter who they were or where they were from, they all had a concept of prayer. I offered to pray with all of them, and no one denied. They were always receptive to my offering to pray with them and for them. I feel the same way when people ask to pray for me. They may be of a different faith, but to know that someone is communicating with Deity on my behalf is empowering.

Prayer is such an amazing form of communication. I believe that prayer is essential to getting to know the God that we worship. In Sable Palms, some of the people I met would often tell me that they don’t pray out loud, but that God knows their thoughts. While it is true that God knows their thoughts, why not talk to Him? It is such a humbling experience to accept the fact that you need help, that you don’t know, that you lack the faith, the courage, or the ability, and to plead with God for help. In a sense, prayer is work. It requires effort to stop what you are doing, focus your mind and heart on God, and talk. But I believe that certain blessings require work on our part, and prayer is the start of that.

As I mentioned before, I believe God is my Father. I find comfort that I can communicate to my Father through sincere prayer, and I know that He is listening. He will answer me according to His time and will, but He does listen with love. It has been said that prayer is the act by which the will of the Father and the will of the child are brought into correspondence with each other. I believe that that is true. I pray to know God’s will, and I try to align myself with it.

To those of you who are reading,what do you believe about prayer? How do you pray? What meaningful experiences have you had with prayer?  Please share in your comments below.

The title of this post comes from a song written by James Montgomery. If you would like to listen to the song, click here.

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7 thoughts on “Prayer is the soul’s sincere desire.

  1. Appreciate your comments about prayer. Particularly enjoyed hearing about your various contacts with those from other countries. I’ve shared similar types of contacts in travels and NYC and it’s wonderful to further open our mind. Prayer is an especially problematic issue for me, since I am called on to offer prayer these days at church. I usually defer. My awkwardness with prayer may be the dilemma of those who meditate? When I open my mouth to pray, my mind goes blank.

    I’ve meditated for many years and this is what I understand: Prayer is TALKING to God, Meditation is LISTENING to God. I recently re-read St. Chantal on Prayer (Durand). Jeanne François de Chantal says that in the art of prayer and union with God, the most common mistake is not adequately preparing to pray. Quoting a wise man from her day (maybe St. Francis de Sales, her teacher), “Before prayer, prepare your soul, think where you are going and to whom you mean to speak”. She addresses meditation as ‘mental prayer’. “The great method for mental prayer is simply this: that there is none when the Holy Spirit has taken charge of the person who is meditating, for then He does with the soul as it pleases Him, and all rules and methods vanish away”.

    I’ve spent decades listening to God and he has far more to say to me than I have to say to him. Meditation, by the way, is also called Pondering, although meditation is more specific. I’m always puzzled when people pray for this or that, even for improvement in the lives of those they love. It seems so personal.

    I do pray, by the way. But when I pray it is rarely for myself. I can count on one hand the serious, personal prayers I’ve made in my life, all of which were answered. The global community (humanity) has such need for salvation that I still participate mentally with others around the world who strive to lighten the load. Many of us use the same prayer, The Great Invocation.

    I see Meditation and Prayer as the virtual in-breath and the out-breath of Life itself, the invocative and evocative elements of Life. I think of this as a conversation, rather than prayer, but I do talk regularly with my soul and listen always to the Holy Ghost. Speaking with my soul, I find an intimacy that I do not perceive with God. Hopefully, that may change someday.

    Thanks for the opportunity to talk about these things. Please tell us if we may share this site with others.

    • Please share with others. The more people who comment, the more we all learn from one another. Also a more diverse pool of viewers will engage all those who are hoping to discover what they believe, and learn from others who may believe differently.

  2. it is very insightful reading these very personal thoughts on prayer. so much of what both of you have said, resonates within me. prayer has been something that i do…not daily in a formal sense…but, mine is more ‘wow’ moments…and i burst out with an ‘oh, my gosh…thank you’….or at times…’can you believe that?’….silly because…of course, spirit already knows, what i can’t seem to get through my head is happening right in front of me! so…most of the time…it’s friendly, sometimes…it’s crying…sometimes…letting Him know that…’this is as good as its going to get today’, as if He is sitting right next to me in the front seat of my car. i know the He’s out there listening and somehow i feel comforted that i’m heard…and i don’t feel judged. i have worked very hard on ‘guilt’…and to tell you the truth, i don’t do to well with it. i always feel like i should be doing/being more….like i can’t measure up. but, deep down in my heart, i’m trusting God knows my heart through these conversations.

  3. Of course, God knows your heart. What you do is always totally sufficient. What people often don’t understand is that their soul knows more than their mind recognizes so it’s a process of teaching ourselves what we already know AS a soul. I do not experience guilt in any form regardless of where my path takes me. Experience is all grist for the mill and it’s a necessary part of learning for ourselves the distinctions between good from the bad. Only when we know the fullness of life can we make true choices. It reminds me of my favorite description of the different stages of understanding from Dr. Salk, the man who discovered the vaccine to prevent polio: “A hierarchy will always exist of the immature, the not-yet-wise and the unwise, as well as those who possess the natural capacity to develop and express practical wisdom….Wisdom implies making judgments in advance rather than retrospectively, and this is the test which Man now faces”. Dr. Jonas Salk, The Survival of the Wisest

    (If we are not invited to make interim comments like this, please let me know. Thanks.)

  4. rae, thank you for your response. i do believe that i am a spiritual being having a human experience…however, i don’t always remember that! i get in my way at times, not trusting that my soul already knows the answer. i find it amazing that you don’t experience guilt. were you taught that at an early age, or through the process of meditation? and if you don’t mind, another question, i’m interested in what you believe to be the ‘fullness of life’? i feel like most of my choices are ‘true’…they are what they are, and when i miss the mark, so to speak, i know it, try to learn from it, and likewise, when i hit the nail on the head…i get it…i learn from that as well. i just have my heart broken a little bit, when i miss the mark…it’s difficult for me to just say, oh, that was a learning experience, and move on. i know that it’s neccessary, but it all sounds too ‘off the hook’ to me, not that i feel like i need to suffer. i think i am answering my own questions, as i write! funny. anyway, very interesting reading your take on this. thank you.

    • Hi, Annie: You did already answer your own questions, as we all do. Isn’t it great when we recognize the wiser soul is always there? And if we listen and apply the wisdom we sense, eventually we become one with the soul in deed as well as word. Your comment reminds me of an ancient symbol we all know. The symbolic black and white Yin/Yang. This shows nested black and white tear shaped graphics, each containing a bit of the other color–the white tear has a small black spot in it, and so on. The black represents the material world we live in, the white represents the spiritual world, remembering that each contains the other. We all swing back and forth between these two elements negative and positive, black and white, or ‘good’ and ‘bad’. What most fail to recognize is that the most interesting (and important) aspect of this symbol is the Circle that contains them. That symbolic circle is Life Itself, God, Spirit, the Divine, the Whole. We are part of the Spirit that contains both good and bad, black and white. The experiences created by bouncing between the two tends, gently or not, smooths off the rough edges and refine us until we can, as Christ recommends, factually experience atonement (or as I know it, at-one-ment). Like it or not, we smooth out flaws for each other, and, as we pass, provide the experiences we each need to grow. In retrospect, gratitude and love always is our best reaction.

  5. Apologies, but I must correct a comment above. In the Yin/Yang, the black is the material world (which includes our personality–body, emotions, logical mind) and the white symbolizes the soul (consciousness, love, the Christ principle in us). The circle that includes all this is that Spirit. There are great distinctions between Soul and Spirit.

    On another note, I didn’t address the question about ‘the fullness of life’ from Annie. We are all human. A few years ago I wrote my Memoir. This is a bit from the Preface: I used to think writing was the only medium sufficiently expansive and flexible to allow me full expression. I was wrong. The true creative medium of an enlightened person is his own life. The redemption and transformation of any life is a remarkable and rewarding achievement, one that can be attained by anyone sufficiently interested.

    I think our character is most strongly formed by our degradation, our humiliation, our disappointment. This type of experience is far richer than our triumphs. Our humanity emerges as we rise above our adversities, not only to survive but to thrive.

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