Why Do We Pray? by Yanki Tauber

We pray because our body requires
nourishment,
health,
safety,
comfort.

We pray to acknowledge
our dependency upon,
our appreciation of,
and our gratitude to
the Source of all the
needs, joys and achievements of life.

We pray because our soul is lonely.
A spark of the Divine fire,
it has journeyed to a world heavy and dark with “matter” —
with things, forces and objects that shout forth
their own reality, obfuscating their Source.
So the spark yearns for the fire and strives to become reabsorbed in it.
Eagerly it awaits the times set aside for prayer —
those precious daily moments when the person it inhabits
ceases to commune with the world and communes with his or her Creator.

So a person praying is
a standing paradox,
a swaying contradiction,
a self divided against itself.
Both body and soul are praying.
The body is praying for life and existence.
The soul is praying to escape life, to transcend existence.

And yet, as prayer progresses,
a certain harmony emerges.
As the soul prays,
climbing the heavens and shedding the husks
of selfhood that encumber it with an identity
with “needs” and hold it distinct from its source, the body
(who’s praying on the same page — there’s no escaping that) learns
that spirituality, too, is a need;
that transcendent strivings are also a pleasure;
that union with G-d is also an achievement.
And the soul, who’s praying on the same page as the body
(there’s no escaping that, either) learns
that life, too, is Divine;
that existence is also a way of fusing with G-d;
that achievement can be the ultimate self-abnegation,
if one’s achievements are harnessed to a higher, G-dly end.

Why do we pray?
Because
the body needs the soul and
the soul needs the body, and
both need to be made aware that the other’s need is also their own.

That, ultimately is the essence of prayer: to
know our needs,
understand their source,
comprehend their true objectives.
To direct our minds and hearts to G-d who
implanted them within us,
defined their purpose, and
provides us with the means to fulfill them.

LINK to article

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About Paul Wharton

I am a cradle Catholic, a native West Virginian, and a priest since April 24, 1982. Spiritual Direction has made a tremendous difference in my life and I encourage people to try it out. My motto is "Progress not perfection." I am grateful that God has done for me what I could not do for myself.
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3 Responses to Why Do We Pray? by Yanki Tauber

  1. Anne Comeaux says:

    Paul, congratulations on your anniversary of 30 years of priesthood. I thank God that you responded to the call and have been so very pastoral in all of the aspects in which I have known you: teacher, pastor, friend. Blessings for “ad multos annos”.

  2. Catherine says:

    Oh my goodness. Absolutely. How perfect and beautiful a description of prayer. Obfuscating…sweet.

  3. sandscript02 says:

    Beautiful! This explaination holds so many Truths. Let Life, itself, be a prayer.

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