Friday, March 25, 2011

Hands that help or lips that pray?

"The hands that help are better far than the lips that pray," Robert Ingersoll.

So is it really an either/or proposition? Not in my view of prayer.  And not, I think, in the view of prayer of most people. Superficial views of prayer do abound, especially prayer as a magic ritual to cause hidden forces to give us what we want (such as treating God like a cosmic vending machine). But such shallow views shouldn't keep people from even considering the potential of prayer.

Prayer is a focus on our relationship to the rest of existence and the mystery out of which it arises and upon which it floats. It is a conscious awareness of our lives in the most profound sense of the words "conscious", "awareness", and "life". Whether or not one employs the term God, or buddha dharma, or nirvana, or whatever else, is not the main point. Prayer is calling out to and from the depths of our hearts.

Even when there is nothing more we can physically do, or think, or say that will help, prayer remains. Praying for others is deep act of solidarity. It deepens and strengthens (our awareness of our) connection with and affects those for whom we pray, often in ways of which we are not conscious and which even people who pray regularly might find incredible or unbelievable.

One prays because one cares and because one can. Praying only because one thinks one should or because one expects to obtain a specific and immediate outcome every time is really not prayer, it just an obligatory gesture or a magic trick. This kind of prayer causes quite a bit of misunderstanding and gives even the idea of prayer a bad name.

So go ahead and pray for those for whom you are concerned. And while you are at it, lend a hand where you can.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Hello! Thanks for leaving a comment.

Everything but spam and abusive comments are welcome. Logging in isn't necessary but if you don't then please "sign" at the end of your comment. You can choose to receive email notifications of new replies to this post for your convenience, and if you find it interesting don't forget to share it. Thanks!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...