Friday, March 10, 2006

The link of prayer

Found an inspiring site yesterday, you may have seen it as the link I used for Mary Baker Eddy’s poem.

This entire site is worth exploring. It’s called World Prayers, and you can even suggest a prayer. I like their design, too, and their mission.

Just found the Daily Prayer by Eddy on their site. I can’t read that prayer without being transported back to reciting it out loud over breakfast at Cedars Camps, with the smell of maple syrup for the pancakes and the promise of a joy-filled day.

And it’s making me think, what is the power of specific words to move us beyond what we’re facing at the moment? I can’t believe it’s the words themselves, but perhaps their familiarity plays a part. Perhaps as they wash over a groove in our thinking, all the times the words have helped us come back. Perhaps the strong positive associative memories attached to the rhythm and cadence of the words evokes that feeling of comfort and peace. I’ve been known to regain calm merely by running my eyes over a familiar psalm.

Yet of course I know I have to go beyond merely reading or hearing the words. It’s the ideas that make a prayer immortal. “I shall not want” is still a startling reminder for me, no matter how many times I think on it. But I’ve come to trust those words, trust their truth, because so many times their essence has proved true.

These prayers that have come down through the years to our waiting ears have that element to them. They are trusted concepts. Their inherent truth has been proven over time by countless desperate, lonely, frightened people. This too lends the words power—their very effectiveness attaches to the concepts and communicates comfort and hope.

And every day people are creating new prayers, making the concepts their own and applying them in their own lives. The prayers become new in new contexts and situations, still gaining power and momentum yet fitting the ever varied circumstances of whatever the present day brings.

We are linked with the great thinkers of old as we enact their prayers in our lives today. That’s an awesome concept itself.


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