Wednesday, June 21, 2017

More Than Two

I think it was Ann Lamott who said she only needs two prayers: Help me, help me, help me, and Thank you, thank you, thank you. I've said those prayers since I was a kid. I still say them -- both of them -- every day.

I want more, though.

I want prayers that godless people can pray. I want prayers that happy sinners can pray. I want prayers that despots and dictators and dilettantes can pray. I want prayers that racists can pray. I want prayers that judges can pray. I want one big, long prayer that I can pray -- a psalm of joy and fear and pain and doubt and awe.

It'll never happen, though. Daily life is too seductive, too shiny. I get drawn away. I could bring prayer along with me, of course, but I get distracted and forget to do this.


Anonymous said...

I find the Taoist and Buddhist idea of trust and acceptance in the "way things are" to be very attractive . Accepting what is of course is easier said then done when tragedy hits . One spiritual teacher said " ask yourself this question ...Is the universe on your side ? or is it against you ? I have a different concept of prayer now. Instead of praying to an external deity out there somewhere, I find the method of stilling the mind and body in meditation to be more effective at getting in touch with that divine essence within. By observing the mind, body and emotions in the stillness as part of my regular practice I am better prepared to live each moment in a peace of mind and heart that was not there when I prayed to an external deity. By becoming still and aware of the continual ever changing flux of life on a moment by moment basis, a natural trust and acceptance develops. You learn to trust the intelligence of life all around. There is a flow of the Tao that we can fall in line with and your life seems to come in sync with it. It is not something I can express well but it is possible to flow in rhythm with nature , it just takes practice I suppose. So, prayer can be thought of as a trust in this life process and it becomes a way of life. When there is a need the heart silently communicates to its source and doors open , things happen . In an impermanent world there is a permanent life source and we can work toward its realization .Our connection with it is our ultimate goal. - Brian

Conveyance Doctor said...

HK, I am so "with you"...getting "distracted" (or choosing to be distracted) to avoid prayer, on occasion. I may have a prayer for you to consider, one that does include your joys, hurts, thoughts, is called the "Examen", of St Ignatius fame. This prayer includes being present, grateful, expressions of emotions, requesting forgiveness/behavioral modification and your daily goal. It can be a beautiful prayer and, when followed by mindful meditation, one can " still and know that I am God." I find that it can be a Taoist exercise. I have got a lot to learn about prayer...

HK Stewart said...


Amen, brother.

This is why I consider myself a Taoist as much or more than I do a Christian these days. (And the way I define "Christian" isn't the way most people do. More on that elsewhere.)

Great comment. Thanks again for reading and writing.

H. K.

HK Stewart said...

Dr. C:

Thanks for the note about the Examen. I'll check it out.

So you think you have a lot to learn about prayer, eh? You seem to have a pretty fair grasp of it as far as I can see. (Remember: The more you know, the more you know you don't know.)

As always, thanks for reading and writing.

H. K.

Galen Pearl said...

I have used that Anne Lamott quote many times--I love it! I sometimes think if we prayed more of the second prayer--thank you thank you--we would need less of the first prayer--help me help me. Just a thought....

HK Stewart said...


When I find that I can be grateful even for the darkness in my life, I discover light there, too.

I agree with you, in other words.

H. K.