[This is the nineteenth of 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. Joan Chittister is a Benedictine sister, prolific writer, and an eloquent and, on some issues, liberal speaker.]
Prayer intends to steep me in the thoughts of God,
in the sense of the presence of God,
in an openness to the will of God, in the likeness of God.
To pray is to rivet my mind on the things of God.
Spirituality without a prayer life is no spirituality at all,
and it will not last beyond the first defeats.
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.
(In a High Spiritual Season)
Prayer is the act of beginning the process of becoming one with the One we seek — eventually, melting into God completely. This can be accomplished through immersion in the Sacred Scriptures.
No one finds time for prayer.
You either take time for it
or you don’t get it.
The Talmud reads, ‘Never pray in a room without windows.’ Never pray without the world in mind, in other words. The purpose of the spiritual life is not to save us from reality. It is to enable us to go on co-creating it.
A Prayer for World Peace by Sister Joan Chittister
Great God, who has told us “Vengeance is mine,”
save us from ourselves, save us from the vengeance in our hearts
and the acid in our souls.
Save us from our desire to hurt as we have been hurt,
to punish as we have been punished,
to terrorize as we have been terrorized.
Give us the strength it takes to listen rather than judge,
to trust rather than fear, to try again and again
to make peace even when peace eludes us.
We ask, O God, for the grace to be our best selves.
We ask for the wisdom to be builders of the human community rather than destroyers.
We ask for the humility as a people to understand the fears and hopes of other peoples.
We ask for the love it takes to bequeath to the children of the world to come
more than the failures of our own making.
We ask for the heart it takes to care for all the peoples of the world as well as ourselves.
Give us the depth of soul, O God, to constrain our might. Amen.