[This is another in a series of posts featuring a saint, mystic, or writer to include some of their thoughts on prayer as well as a prayer written by or ascribed to him or her. This Danish writer was deservedly called a Christian philosopher by some.]
The function of prayer is not to influence God,
but rather to change the nature of the one who prays.
It is wondeful how God’s love overwhelms me -
alas, ultimately I know of no truer prayer
than what I pray over and over again,
that God will allow me and not be angry with me
because I continuously thank him for having done
and for doing, yes, and for doing
so indescribably much more for me than I ever expected.
Just as in earthly life lovers long for the moment when
they are able to breathe forth their love for each other,
to let their souls blend in a soft whisper,
so the mystic longs for the moment when in
prayer he can, as it were, creep into God.
Seek first God’s Kingdom, that is, become like the lilies and the birds, become perfectly silent — then shall the rest be added unto you.
A Prayer Written by Soren Kierkegaard
From your hand, O Lord, we receive everything.
You stretch out your hand,
and turn worldly wisdom into holy folly.
You open your gentle hand,
and offer the gift of inner peace.
If sometimes it seems as if your arm is shortened,
then you increase our faith and trust,
so that we may reach out to you.
And if sometimes it seems
that you withdraw your hand from us,
then we know it is only to conceal
the eternal blessing which you have promised –
that we may yearn even more fervently for that blessing.
[The illustration of Kierkegaard is a faithful photographic reproduction of an original two-dimensional work of art. The work of art itself is in the public domain because its copyright has expired.]