What is prayer?

What is prayer?

One in a series of short items about prayer from On Spirituality columnist Margery Eagan. Ruth Burrows, known as Sister Rachel in her Carmelite community, has written many books on prayer. Here is an excerpt from one of them, the “Essence of Prayer,” which offers a wonderful perspective. “Prayer has

One in a series of short items about prayer from On Spirituality columnist Margery Eagan.

Ruth Burrows, known as Sister Rachel in her Carmelite community, has written many books on prayer. Here is an excerpt from one of them, the “Essence of Prayer,” which offers a wonderful perspective.

“Prayer has far more to do with what God wants to do in us than with our trying to ‘reach’ or ‘realize,’ still less ‘entertain,’ God in prayer. This truth eliminates anxiety and concern as to the success or non-success of our prayer, for we can be quite certain that, if we want to pray and give the time to prayer, God is always successful and that is what matters.

“What we think of as our search for God is, in reality, a response to the divine Lover drawing us to himself. There is never a moment when divine Love is not at work. This work is nothing other than a giving of the divine self in love. The logical consequence for us must surely be that our part is to let ourselves be loved, let ourselves be given to, let ourselves be worked upon by this great God and made capable of total union with Him.”

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