Kahlil Gibran  (1883-1931) ON PRAYER

[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.  Khalil Gibran was born in Lebanon on this day in 1883 and died in New York He wrote vote in Arabic and English. He is best known for The Prophet.]

Khalil Gibran
THEN a priestess said, Speak to us of Prayer.

And he (The Prophet)answered, saying:

You pray in your distress and in your
need; would that you might pray also in
the fullness of your joy and in your days
of abundance.

For what is prayer but the expansion of
yourself into the living ether?

And if it is for your comfort to pour
your darkness into space, it is also for your
delight to pour forth the dawning of your

And if you cannot but weep when your
soul summons you to prayer, she should spur
you again and yet again, though weeping,
until you shall come laughing.

When you pray you rise to meet in the
air those who are praying at that very hour,
and whom save in prayer you may not

Therefore let your visit to that temple in-
visible be for naught but ecstasy and sweet

For if you should enter the temple for no
other purpose than asking you shall not

And if you should enter into it to humble
yourself you shall not be lifted:

Or even if you should enter into it to
beg for the good of others you shall not be

It is enough that you enter the temple

I cannot teach you how to pray in words.

God listens not to your words save when
He Himself utters them through your lips.

And I cannot teach you the prayer of the
seas and the forests and the mountains.

But you who are born of the mountains
and the forests and the seas can find their
prayer in your heart,
And if you but listen in the stillness of the
night you shall hear them saying in silence,
“Our God, who art our winged self, 
it is thy will in us that willeth.
It is thy desire in us that desireth.
It is thy urge in us that would turn our nights, 
which are thine, into days which arethine also.
We cannot ask thee for aught, 
for thou knowest our needs before they are born in us:
Thou art our need; and in giving us more
of thyself thou givest us all.”
-excerpt from The Prophet, by Kahlil Gibran

Link 2 book


[This picture is in the public domain in the United States. This applies to U.S. works where the copyright has expired because its publication occurred prior to 1/1/23.] 


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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