Thoughts on prayer

For a class on prayer that I led last spring, here are some of my favorite thoughts on prayer:

Thoughts on Prayer

The function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays.” 
― Søren Kierkegaard

Do not pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one” 
― Bruce Lee

I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had no where else to go. My own wisdom and that of all about me seemed insufficient for that day.” 
― Abraham Lincoln

You pray in your distress and in your need; would that you might pray also in the fullness of your joy and in your days of abundance.” 
― Kahlil GibranThe Prophet

Go where your best prayers take you.” 
― Frederick Buechner

Help” is a prayer that is always answered. It doesn’t matter how you pray–with your head bowed in silence, or crying out in grief, or dancing. Churches are good for prayer, but so are garages and cars and mountains and showers and dance floors. Years ago I wrote an essay that began, “Some people think that God is in the details, but I have come to believe that God is in the bathroom.” 
― Anne LamottPlan B: Further Thoughts on Faith

Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living.” 
― Mother Jones

For me, prayer is a surge of the heart; it is a simple look turned toward heaven, it is a cry of recognition and of love, embracing both trial and joy.” 
― Thérèse de Lisieux

The primary purpose of prayer is not to make requests. The primary purpose is to praise, to sing, to chant. Because the essence of prayer is a song, and man cannot live without a song. 
Prayer may not save us. But prayer may make us worthy of being saved.” 
― Abraham Joshua HeschelMoral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity: Essays

 Lord, take me where you want me to go,

let me meet who you want me to meet,

tell me what you want me to say,

and keep me out of your way. 

-Prayer of Father Mychal Judge


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