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Prayer

  • We often pray to be better, when in truth we only want to feel better.

  • The prayer that reforms the sinner and heals the sick is an absolute faith that all things are possible to God ...

  • ... both prayer and poetry begin deep within a person, beyond the reach of language.

    • Kathleen Norris,
    • in Jack Heffron, ed., The Best Writing on Writing, vol. 2 ()
  • ... prayer can be an easy substitute for real spirituality. It would be impossible to have spirituality without prayer, of course, but it is certainly possible to pray without having a spirituality at all. How do you know? 'Am I becoming kinder?' is a good place to start.

  • A spirituality without a prayer life is no spirituality at all, and it will not last beyond the first defeat. Prayer is an opening of the self so that the Word of God can break in and make us new. Prayer unmasks. Prayer converts. Prayer impels. Prayer sustains us on the way.

  • Prayer ... is more than meditation. ... In meditation the source of strength is one's self. When one prays he goes to a source of strength greater than his own.

  • ... all prayers, whatever form they assume, are of profit to the man who utters them; of that I have become convinced. What might seem like only a weak outcry to one man may serve as the fulcrum of courage to another.

  • Prayers, I have no doubt, differ as widely as love-making or fun-making.

  • If prayers are going to be answered at all, human beings probably have to answer them for each other.

  • You can't defeat a praying man. He finds his answers everywhere he looks.

  • To this day I always say my prayers on my knees 'cause I think maybe they get there sooner.

    • Oprah Winfrey,
    • in Bill Adler, ed., The Uncommon Wisdom of Oprah Winfrey ()
  • I have not missed a day in my life of praying. It's always about the same thing, using my life as a vehicle. Whatever I do, let it bring goodness to myself and to everybody that I come in contact with.

    • Oprah Winfrey,
    • in Bill Adler, ed., The Uncommon Wisdom of Oprah Winfrey ()
  • Prayer, even more than eating or sleeping, is not a luxury but a necessity, and we are only fully human when we remember this and arrange our life accordingly.

  • What we feel at prayer is God's business, not ours, and we must strive to be totally abandoned to the presence of 'consolation' or of boredom when we pray. A clear understanding that the value of our prayer does not depend upon how we feel is extremely important if we are to persevere in prayer. So many people feel that if their prayer is distracted it cannot be pleasing to God, and are therefore led to abandon their efforts precisely when fidelity is of the most importance.

  • This conversion into prayer of our everyday joys, sorrows, hopes and desires is at first a conscious labor, but after a while it becomes second nature, so that converse with God becomes inextricably and wonderfully woven into the fabric of our lives.

  • It is precisely because we cannot see God that we can only know that our prayer is valid by the effect it has upon our lives, by the way we treat our neighbor.

  • I betook myself to prayer and in every lonely place I found an altar.

  • Prayer is a long rope with a strong hold.

  • Sometimes I think that just not thinking of oneself is a form of prayer ...

  • Prayer in school is quite perfectly legal, and is especially common before algebra exams. Mandatory prayer organized by, led by and broadcast over the public address system by paid agents of the state is unconstitutional.

  • Absolutely unmixed attention is prayer.

  • ... prayer consists of attention. It is the orientation of all the attention of which the soul is capable towards God. The quality of the attention counts for much in the quality of the prayer. Warmth of heart cannot make up for it.

  • [David's belief in prayer:] Was there after all something he had denied, and that old David had been able to summon when he needed it? He did not know, but always after that he had a phrase for it. He called it working better than he knew how.

  • ... did not God / Sometimes withhold in mercy what we ask, / We should be ruin'd at our own request.

    • Hannah More,
    • "Moses in the Bulrushes," Sacred Dramas ()
  • What ascends up in prayer descends to us again in blessings. It is like the rain which just now fell, and which had been drawn up from the ground in vapors to the clouds before it descended from them to the earth in that refreshing shower.

    • Hannah More,
    • "The Two Wealthy Farmers," The Works of Hannah More, vol. 1 ()
  • Saying one's prayers isn't exactly the same thing as praying.

  • Why must people kneel down to pray? If I really wanted to pray I'll tell you what I'd do. I'd go out into a great big field or into the deep deep woods, and I'd look up into the sky-up-up-up into that lovely blue sky that looks as if there was no end to its blueness. And then I'd just feel a prayer ...

  • Why do you pray if you doubt you are heard?

  • And lips say 'God be pitiful,' / Who ne'er said 'God be praisèd.'

  • Some people always sigh in thanking God.

  • Every wish / Is like a prayer — with God.

  • God answers sharp and sudden on some prayers, / And thrusts the thing we have prayed for in our face, / A gauntlet with a gift in 't.

  • Of Course — I prayed — / And did God Care?

    • Emily Dickinson,
    • c. 1862, in Thomas H. Johnson, ed., The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson ()
  • For me, prayer means launching out of the heart towards God; it means lifting up one's eyes, quite simply, to heaven, a cry of grateful love, from the crest of joy or the trough of despair; it's a vast, supernatural force which opens out my heart, and binds me close to Jesus.

  • Prayer is, for me, an outburst from the heart; it is a simple glance darted upwards to Heaven; it is a cry of gratitude and of love in the midst of trial as in the midst of joy! In a word, it is something exalted, supernatural, which dilates the soul and unites it to God.

  • ... he didn't know exactly what he wanted to pray for; in which he was like most other people. For our real prayer, if we had the wits or the courage to formulate it, would be a general plea for everything to be all right for ever.

  • I'm tired, Lord, but I'll lift one foot if you'll lift the other for me.

  • If prayers worked, Hitler would have been stopped at the border of Poland by angels with swords of fire.

  • For prayer is the language of the heart ...

    • Grace Aguilar,
    • "The Spirit of Judaism" (1842), Sabbath Thoughts and Sacred Communings ()
  • I cannot cast away my cross, / Nor thorns about my brow untwine, / But I can knock at heaven's gate / When sorrow knocks at mine.

  • O God / why do I storm heaven / for answers / that are already in my heart?

  • I strain toward God; God strains toward me. I ache for God; God aches for me. Prayer is mutual yearning, mutual straining, mutual aching.

  • Lord, I do not ask that Thou shouldst give me wealth; only show me where it is, and I will attend to the rest.

  • Some folks just don't seem to realize, when they're moaning about not getting prayers answered, that no is the answer.

  • Nearer, my God, to Thee, / Nearer to Thee.

  • Prayer is the lifeline to God.

  • Prayer is like money — it has no smell.

  • Prayer enlarges the heart until it is capable of containing God's gift of himself.

  • The beginning of prayer is silence ...

  • Prayer to be fruitful must come from the heart and must be able to touch the heart of God.

  • Prayer is in all things, in all gestures.

    • Mother Teresa,
    • in Becky Benenate and Joseph Durepos, eds., No Greater Love ()
  • Prayer enlarges the heart until it is capable of containing God's gift of Himself. Ask and seek and your heart will grow big enough to receive Him and keep Him as your own.

    • Mother Teresa,
    • in Becky Benenate and Joseph Durepos, eds., No Greater Love ()
  • Let's not pray long, drawn-out prayers, but let's pray short ones full of love. Let us pray on behalf of those who do not pray. Let us remember, if we want to be able to love, we must be able to pray!

    • Mother Teresa,
    • in Becky Benenate and Joseph Durepos, eds., No Greater Love ()
  • People say that the danger of prayer is that you might get what you pray for.

  • He prayed as he breathed, forming no words and making no specific requests, only holding in his heart, like broken birds in cupped hands, all those people who were in stress or grief ...

  • Prayer does not use up artificial energy, doesn't burn up any fossil fuel, doesn't pollute. Neither does song, neither does love, neither does the dance.

  • ... we do not believe until we want a thing and feel that we shall die if 'tis not granted to us, and then we kneel and kneel and believe, because we must have someone to ask help from.

  • ... prayer is a law of the universe, like gravity. You don't even have to believe in God to ask ...

  • ... prayer is nothing more than thought. It is a yearning of the heart.

  • When we pray we show the connection between belief and conduct.

    • Lily H. Montagu,
    • 1939, in Ellen M. Umansky, ed., Lily Montagu: Sermons, Addresses, Letters and Prayers ()
  • I have lived to thank God that all my prayers have not been answered.

  • ... prayer is whenever we consciously try to get in contact with the numinous, the ineffable, the marvelous.

  • Here are the two best prayers I know: 'Help me, help me, help me,' and 'Thank you, thank you, thank you.' A woman I know says, for her morning prayer, 'Whatever,' and then for the evening, 'Oh, well,' but has conceded that these prayers are more palatable for people without children.

  • Again and again I tell God I need help, and God says, 'Well, isn't that fabulous? Because I need help too. So you go get that old woman over there some water, and I'll figure out what we're going to do about your stuff.'

  • To pray together, in whatever tongue or ritual, is the most tender brotherhood of hope and sympathy that men can contract in this life.

  • Prayer is the life of the soul.

    • Madame de Staël,
    • in Isaphene M. Luyster, ed., Memoirs and Correspondence of Madame Récamier ()
  • This morning I stood on the river bank to pray. I knew then that the ancient ones were wise to pray for peace and beauty and not for specific gifts except fertility which is continued life. And I saw that if one has even a small degree of the ability to take into and unto himself the peace and beauty the gods surround him with, it is not necessary to ask for more.

    • Edith Warner,
    • in Peggy Pond Church, The House at Otowi Bridge ()
  • Prayer is a concentration of positive thoughts.

  • Surely we may with reverence say that, in a true and deep sense, God Himself is the answer to prayer.

  • You can do more than praying after you have prayed. You can never do more than praying before you have prayed.

  • To pray only when in peril is to use safety belts only in heavy traffic.

  • Is prayer your steering wheel or your spare tire?

  • If a care is too small to be turned into a prayer, it is too small to be made into a burden.

  • There is danger that prayers such as 'Grant us brotherhood' may become substitutes for positive action toward creation of brotherhood in the world. It is a trick of the human spirit to turn to abstract worship of something which man will not pay the price to achieve — so vicariously he enjoys the fruits of it in an idealistic worship of something of which the realities of the world make a mockery.

    • Rose Terlin,
    • "Prayer and Christian Living," in Dorothy B. Phillips, ed., The Choice Is Always Ours ()
  • Prayer is not escape from reality and from action; it is the source of strength and insight for action. It is the only preparation for sound action.

    • Rose Terlin,
    • "Prayer and Christian Living," in Dorothy B. Phillips, ed., The Choice Is Always Ours ()
  • As for prayer, don't burden yourself with making considerations; neither your mind or mine is good at that. Follow your own way of speaking to God sincerely, lovingly, confidently and simply, as your heart dictates.

    • Jane de Chantal,
    • in Péronne Marie Thibert, V.H.M., trans., Francis de Sales, Jane de Chantal: Letters of Spiritual Direction ()
  • ... perhaps there's no sharper spur to meditation than answered prayer.

  • Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, / Bless the bed that I lie on.

    • Anna H. Branch,
    • "The Thought of the Little Brother," The Heart of the Road ()
  • ... they move all things, even the heart of God. / The hands of prayer!

  • ... an authentic life is the most personal form of worship. Everyday life has become my prayer.

  • People would be surprised to know how much I learned about prayer from playing poker.

  • The life of prayer is so great and various there is something in it for everyone. It is like a garden which grows everything, from alpines to potatoes.

    • Evelyn Underhill,
    • in Lucy Menzies, ed., Collected Papers of Evelyn Underhill ()
  • In prayer the soul comes nearest the experience of absolute love: in belief it ascends by means of symbols towards absolute truth.

  • All this day, O Lord, / let me touch as many lives as possible for thee; / and every life I touch, do thou by thy Spirit quicken, / whether through the word I speak, / the prayer I breathe, or the life I live.

  • Prayer is not a science.

  • Come, O Creator, Spirit blest! / And in our souls take up Thy rest; / Come, with Thy grace and heavenly aid, / To fill the hearts which Thou has made.

  • To pray well one must pray much.

  • Prayer is the opening of the soul to God so that he can speak to us.

  • Prayer is essentially a process by which ideals are enabled to become operative in our lives. It may be more than this, but it is at least this.

  • Consider yourself not ready to start the day, ill equipped, unprepared to mix with your fellows, until you have spent at least fifteen minutes in prayer. Count it as much a social necessity as washing.

  • Prayer is speaking to God. Meditation is listening to God. Trust tranquility.

  • Dog-tiredness is such a lovely prayer, really, if only we would recognize it as such.

  • I prayed to trees. This was easier than praying directly to God. There was nearly always a tree nearby.

  • An important part of praying is a willingness to become part of the answer.

    • Nona Baker,
    • in Jean Van Dyke, ed., Words to Live By ()
  • Prayer, to the thinking person, is almost inescapable.

  • ... simply to ask a blessing upon one's circumstances, whatever they are, is somehow to improve them, and to tap some mysterious source of energy and joy.

  • You always get an answer to prayer, but you don't always want to hear the answer.

  • One way to confront the self is through analysis. One way to approach God is through prayerful contemplation. I am not so sure that in their essentials these two ways are so fundamentally different.

  • Prayer is conscious desire to listen to God.

  • ... no sincere prayer leaves us where it finds us.

  • ... prayer is the most powerful force in the universe.

  • ... prayer must be, in its own nature, absurd and impertinent.

  • With prayer, one can go on cheerfully and even happily. Without prayer, how grim a journey!

  • 'Do you think then ... the gods will reward me by answering my prayers?' ... 'you're so naive. That's the way the gods punish us — by answering our prayers.'

  • We cannot pray and remain the same.

  • ... when life knocks you to your knees, which it always does and always will — well, that's the best position in which to pray, isn't it?

    • Ethel Barrymore,
    • in Adela Rogers St. Johns, "Ethel Barrymore, Queen Once More," Reader's Digest ()
  • I pray every single second of my life — not on my knees but with my work ... Work and worship are one with me.

    • Susan B. Anthony,
    • 1896, in Lynn Sherr, ed., Failure Is Impossible: Susan B. Anthony in Her Own Words ()
  • A lot of kneeling keeps one in good standing.

  • Prayer is a listening to the creative, life-giving word that loves us into being.

  • They who pray with faith have fervour and fervour is the fire of prayer. This mysterious fire has the power of consuming all our faults and imperfections, and of giving to our actions, vitality, beauty and merit.

    • Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini,
    • 1894, in Giovanni Serpentelli, ed., The Travels of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini As Related in Several of Her Letters ()
  • ... prayer is the natural language of love.

  • Worry is the antithesis of prayer. Prayer is an acknowledgment of faith; worry is a denial of faith.

  • There are three answers to prayer: yes, no, and wait awhile. It must be recognized that no is an answer.

  • Oh, I wish that God had not given me what I prayed for! It was not so good as I thought.

  • Can mortal prayers ensure immortal happiness?

  • When we pray, we don't change the world, we change ourselves.

  • ... I believe the old cliché, 'God helps those who help themselves,' is not only misleading but often dead wrong. My most spectacular answers to prayers have come when I was so helpless, so out of control as to be able to do nothing at all for myself.

  • Prayer oneth the soul to God.

  • Pray inwardly, even if you do not enjoy it. It does good, though you feel nothing. Yes, even though you think you are doing nothing.

  • Jesus loves me — this I know, / For the Bible tells me so.

  • Prayer begins where human capacity ends.

  • ... we seem to be much more comfortable talking about our sex lives than we are sharing information with each other about how we pray. Perhaps this is because praying may be the most personal and intimate thing we do.

  • Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers.

  • Prayer is the final dishonesty. You commune with your own psychology and obtain its whole-hearted approval.

  • The combination of song, prayer, and poetry is a natural form of expression for many Navajo people. A person who is able to 'talk beautifully' is well thought of and considered wealthy ...