Thursday, November 18, 2021

What's the purpose of prayer

Prayer is not thinking. To the thinker, God is an object; to the man who prays, He is the subject. Awaking in the presence of God, our aim is not to acquire objective knowledge but to deepen the mutual allegiance of man and God. What we want is not to know Him but to be known to Him; not to form judgments about Him but to be judged by Him; not to make the world an object of our mind but to let it come to His attention, to augment His, rather than our knowledge. We endeavor to disclose ourselves to the Sustainer of all, rather than to enclose the world in ourselves.—Abraham Joshua Heschel in Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity: Essays, 346

<idle musing>
Sorry for the hiatus; I'm a trifle busy right now and don't have a lot of time for leisurely reading. But, I decided to carve out a few minutes every day for Heschel.

While I might quibble with some of what he says here, I think that on the whole, he is correct. Prayer isn't about us! It's about God. I read somewhere the other day that Mother Theresa was once asked how she prayed. She replied, "I listen." The questioner then asked what God said. She replied, "He listens." After a pause, she continued, "And if you don't understand what that means, I can't explain it." Yep.
</idle musing>

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