prayer - prayer 2 - prayer 3

Joy and thankfulness are the secret
ingredients to all successful prayer.



It's a risky thing to pray and the danger is that our prayers get between God and us.  The great thing in prayer is not to pray, but to go directly to God. . . . at the very root of your existence, you are in constant and immediate contact with the infinite power of God.

Thomas Merton


The Sufis have a saying:  "Praise Allah, and tie your camel to a post."  This brings together both parts of practice:  pray, yes, but also make sure that you do what is necessary in the world.

Jack Kornfield

Prayer is a means of sharing the burden, which relieves pressure, as you tell your worries and concerns to someone who will listen and won't judge, no matter what you say.  Praying is like handing the problem over to someone else as you talk it out.  Then you can tune in for guidance and a different perspective that will exude heartfelt energy.  When you pray, you are exposing your real self and extending sincere, loving energy to yourself.  It doesn't matter if your words are fancy or plain, and there is no way to do it right or wrong. Prayer is about opening your heart and being sincere.

Lucinda Bassett

Prayer is conversation with God.


Prayer changes things.  Prayer changes us.  Prayer changes life.  Sometimes an event has been manifested that needs to be stopped, midair.  Don't pray just when you're in trouble.  Pray every day.  Surround yourself with prayer.  You never know when you might need an extra miracle.

Melody Beattie


What discord we should bring into the universe if our prayers
were all answered.  Then we should govern the world and
not God.  And do you think we should govern it better?
It gives me only pain when I hear the long, wearisome
petitions of people asking for they know not what. . . .
Thanks-giving with a full heart--and the rest
silence and submission to the divine will!

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


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Right prayer is not escape from action, it is equipment for action.  It is
not idle luxury, it is no luxury at all. . . . It is not a waste of time.  The
hours spent in communion with God, make better, more effective, the
hours spent in action.  It is not an effort to get God to do what we ought
to do, but to let God equip us for the doing, and help us in the
doing and finally to do only what we alone cannot do.

Albert E. Day


Prayer is not a monologue.  It speaks to God and to the
community.  In the last analysis, religion is not what goes on
inside a soul.  It is what goes on in the world, between people,
between us and God.  To trap faith in a monologue, and
pretend that it resides solely inside the self, undermines
the true interchange of all belief.

David J. Wolpe


I have to be honest in asking myself:  Do I really want to know and do God’s
will?  Or is it rather that I want God to do my will?  Do I go to God
with the assurance that I want only to know and do his will?
Or do I rather first make my own plans and then insist
that God make my dreams come true?

John Powell

Today, as never before, prayer is a binding necessity in the lives
of people and nations.  The lack of emphasis on the religious sense
has brought the world to the edge of destruction.  Our deepest source
of power and perfection has been left miserably undeveloped.  Prayer,
the basic exercise of the spirit, must be actively practiced in our private
lives.  The neglected souls of people must be made strong enough to assert
themselves once more.  For if the power of prayer is again released and
used in the lives of common men and women; if the spirit declares its aims
clearly and boldly, there is yet hope that our prayers
for a better world will be answered.

Alexis Carrel (1941)

In the foothills of the Himalayas, one hears the prayer:  "Oh Lord, we
know not what is good for us.  You know what it is.  For it we pray."

Harry E. Fosdick


If you would have God hear you when you pray,
you must hear him when he speaks.

Richard J. Needham

Nothing is too small a subject for prayer,
because nothing is too small to be the subject
of God's care.

Henry T. Hamblin

The journey of prayer is nothing more or less
than a gradual awakening to the reality of
recognizing what is already there.

Delia Smith

It is a travesty to pray daily "Thy kingdom come"
and then do nothing to help bring it to pass.

Alice B. Rice


Prayer is not a stratagem for occasional use, a refuge to resort to
now and then.  It is rather like an established residence for
the innermost self.  All things have a home:  the bird has a nest,
the fox has a hole, the bee has a hive.  A soul without
prayer is a soul without a home.

Abraham Joshua Heschel



Prayer works in the mind as a healing force.  It calms the patient,
enlightens the physician, guides the surgeon, and it often victoriously
applies the power of the spirit when all seems lost.  It proves, over and
over again, the truth of Tennyson’s words:  “More things are wrought
by prayer than this world dreams of.”  Prayer puts us on God’s side.
It aligns us with life’s higher purposes, aims, and ideals.  Prayer is
dedicating our thought, feeling and action to the expression of goodness.
It is to become like a window through which the light of God shines.

Wilferd A. Peterson

A mother was tucking her young son into bed.  “Have you said your prayers?”
she asked.  “No,” the boy replied.  “Why not?” the mother asked.  “Because
there was nothing I wanted.”  We may smile at this story, but children
aren’t the only ones to treat prayer as primarily a way of getting what
they want.  God does want us to bring our needs to him in prayer,
but prayer is more than that.  We come in prayer not to get God to do
our will, but to open ourselves to doing his will.

Lyn Klug


When praying for healing, ask great things of God and expect great
things from God.  But let us seek for that healing that really matters,
the healing of the heart, enabling us to trust God simply,
face God honestly, and live triumphantly.

Arlo F. Newell



It is an immature concept to think of prayer for personal gain.
It takes from one the responsibility of the conditions of one's life.
Everything in creation is based on universal laws.  Cause and
effect work perfectly in accordance with this law.  Yet humankind
attempts to escape the hurt brought on by our disobedience
to higher law by praying to God to violate his own laws.

Cheryl Canfield


Prayer is not a way to get what we want to happen, like the remote control
that comes with the television set.  I think that prayer may be less about
asking for the things we are attached to than it is about relinquishing our
attachments in some way.  It can take us beyond fear, which is an attachment,
and beyond hope, which is another form of attachment.  It can help us remember
the nature of the world and the nature of life, not on an intellectual level but
in a deep and experiential way.  When we pray, we don't change the world,
we change ourselves.  We change our consciousness.

Rachel Naomi Remen



I remember reading years ago a little tract written by
Frank Laubach, a great man of prayer, in which he
described one of his prayer practices.  When he is
on a journey, even on a streetcar going a few blocks,
he tries to spot somebody on the car who seems to him
to be in distress, or perhaps just tired or lonely,
and to direct his prayers toward that person as though
the Divine possession were streaming out
from him to this other person.

H.L. Puxley

prayer - prayer 2 - prayer 3

Prayer has great power which a person makes with all his or her might.
It makes a sour heart sweet, a sad heart merry, a poor heart rich,
a foolish heart wise, a timid heart brave, a sick heart well, a blind heart
full of sight, a cold heart ardent.  It draws down the great God into
the little heart; it drives the hungry soul up into the fullness of God;
it brings together two lovers, God and the soul,
in a wondrous place where they speak much of love.

Mechtild of Magdeburg

Everyone prays in their own language, and
there is no language that God does not understand.

Duke Ellington


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There is probably no richer, more rewarding experience that I can have
than that of supporting others with prayer.  As I pray, I may or may not
know the immediate needs of the people I am praying for.  I am, however,
affirming that the love of God is blessing them with peace, wholeness, and
understanding.  The one who benefits most from my prayers for others
may be me.  The experience of prayer connects me at a deep and fulfilling
level with the love of God, with the people I know, and with all humanity.



When I pray for one person from a heart of love, I pray for all people.  Praying for others is as easy as holding loving thoughts and knowing that God is within each one of them. My prayers do not have to be formal or lengthy. A declaration such as "I love you," or "I see you healthy, happy, and whole" is a prayer from my heart.  I pray, envisioning people everywhere filled with and expressing the love of God. I include leaders of the world, animals, and the planet in my prayers. My every prayer is an affirmation of God's unconditional love within all and for all.



The prayer of power is not reaching toward anything above or around
or beneath.  It is knowing that you are one with all there is.  It is an
understanding that the substance of your being is the one
and only substance there is in the universe.

H.B. Jeffery

Even if you are not a religious person by nature or training--even if you are an out-and-out skeptic--prayer can help you much more than you believe, for it is a practical thing.  I mean that prayer fulfills these three very basic psychological needs which all people share, whether they believe in God or not:

1.  Prayer helps us to put into words exactly what is troubling us.  It is almost impossible to deal with a problem while it remains vague and nebulous.  Praying, in a way, is very much like writing our problems down on paper.  If we ask help for a problem--even from God--we must put it into words.

2.  Prayer gives us a sense of sharing our burdens, of not being alone.  Few of us are so strong that we can bear our heaviest burdens, our most agonizing troubles, all by ourselves.  Sometimes our worries are of so intimate a nature that we cannot discuss them even with our closest relatives or friends.  Then prayer is the answer.  Any psychiatrist will tell us that when we are pent-up and tense, and in an agony of spirit, it is therapeutically good to tell someone our troubles.  When we can't tell anyone else--we can always tell God.

3.  Prayer puts into force an active principal of doing.  It's a first step toward action.  I doubt if anyone can pray for some fulfillment, day after day, without benefiting from it--in other words, without taking some steps to bring it to pass.  The world-famous scientist, Dr. Alexis Carrel, said, "Prayer is the most powerful form of energy one can generate."  So why not make use of it?  Call it God or Allah or Spirit--why quarrel with definitions as long as the mysterious powers of nature take us in hand?

Dale Carnegie

Prayers are answered in the way they're asked.

Ram Tirth


There are few people who would dare to publish to
the world the prayers they make to almighty God.

Michel de Montaigne


A heart-felt prayer is not recitation with the lips.  It is a yearning from within
which expresses itself in every word, every act, nay every thought of people.

Mohandas Gandhi

The person who prays longest and loudest is either trying to
convince others or trying to convince him- or herself.

Fred Van Amburgh

Prayer is like the turning-on of an electric switch.  It does not create
the current; it simply provides a channel through
which the electric current may flow.

Max Handel


Prayer is the deliberate and persevering action of the soul.  It is true and
enduring, and full of grace.  Prayer fastens the soul to God and
makes it one with God's will.

Julian of Norwich

Prayer unites the soul to God, for although the soul may always be
like God in nature and substance, it is often unlike him in condition.


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Prayer isn’t just a spiritual version of Santa’s toy sack.  God never intended my
prayers to be wish lists filled solely with my requests for what I think I need.
Rather, prayer is a vehicle by which I can miraculously pursue intimacy with the
all-powerful God.  So, in that sense, I suppose something happens every time I
pray.  I make contact with eternity.  I get a chance to let God know how I feel,
to laugh and cry in my Father’s presence, and to trust God no matter how life’s
circumstances turn out.  Perhaps instead of saying, “I prayed, nothing
happened,” I need to learn how to simply say, “I prayed.  That’s enough.”

Mike Nappa


The kind of prayer I am talking about is a detached kind of prayer
in which you are not looking for anything, just putting yourself in
God's presence and sharing with him what you are feeling or what
you are suffering.  It is the kind of prayer in which you just open
your heart to God and say, "God, I'm here.  I'm not asking for
anything, God.  I just want to be near you and open my heart to you."

Joseph F. Girzone
Never Alone


Prayer has always been used as a means of cultivating inner peace.  Without
some measure of equanimity, the spiritual journey is impossible.  Prayers offer
a skillful means for marrying an inner sense of peace with the outer demands
of the world.  They help to quiet and focus the agitated mind.  They use words
to carry us beyond words.  As such they are the most primordial language we
humans use to align ourselves with the Divine.  By silencing inner noise and
distractions, prayer brings us into the presence of the moment.  Its gift is an
inner experience of prayerfulness in which the silent center of life's meaning
is revealed.

Prayer also gifts us with a deepening of our compassionate caring for the
world.  By aligning us with the rest of creation, prayer shows us that the
impulse to be of help does not require superior moral fiber or ascetic religious
training.  It flows naturally out of being human.  In serving the common good
we learn that we need not become martyrs, sacrificing ourselves in some
painful task, but simply become that which we most passionately are.

Elizabeth Roberts and Elias Amidon


Let us not pray to be sheltered from dangers but to be
fearless in facing them.  Let us not beg for the stilling
of the pain but for the heart to conquer it.

Rabindranath Tagore

The highest level of prayer is not a prayer for anything.  It is a deep
and profound silence, in which we allow ourselves to be still and
know Him.  In that silence, we are changed.  We are calmed.  We are
illumined.  Prayer is meant to dissolve the worldly focus, to dissolve
our sense of a separate self, to help us detach from an insane world
order.  We pray that He might flood our minds.  Prayer is like pouring
hot water on an ice cube, melting the cold and encrusted
thought forms that still surround our hearts.

Marianne Williamson

What God gives in answer to our prayers will always be the thing
we most urgently need, and it will always be sufficient.

Elisabeth Elliot


From now on, I pray like I mean it.  No more hitting SEND over and over.  It's
changed my life.  It has freed me from fear and opened up endless avenues for
me as a writer, radio host, parent, wife, and friend.  It has enhanced every
relationship I'm in, starting with the most important one:  my relationship with God.
Real faith isn't praying without ceasing.  It's believing that God heard you the first time.

Regina Brett
Be the Miracle



Yes, life can be mysterious and confusing--but there's much of life that's actually rather dependable and reliable.  Some principles apply to life in so many different contexts that they can truly be called universal--and learning what they are and how to approach them and use them can teach us some of the most important lessons that we've ever learned.
My doctorate is in Teaching and Learning.  I use it a lot when I teach at school, but I also do my best to apply what I've learned to the life I'm living, and to observe how others live their lives.  What makes them happy or unhappy, stressed or peaceful, selfish or generous, compassionate or arrogant?  In this book, I've done my best to pass on to you what I've learned from people in my life, writers whose works I've read, and stories that I've heard.  Perhaps these principles can be a positive part of your life, too!
Universal Principles of Living Life Fully.  Awareness of these principles can explain a lot and take much of the frustration out of the lives we lead.