Midcoast Friends Meeting, Damariscotta, Maine
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The Sage was often visited by a man who would ask before leaving, "Shall we pray?" The man never gave the Sage time to respond. The Sage would bow his head and listen to the man pray until ending with a hearty "Amen!" One day, the Sage interrupted the question with a stern "No." The man, baffled, said, "I'm stunned you would decline prayer. We've always concluded our meeting with prayer. Why?" "Because," said the Sage, "we've been praying since you got here." "How's that?" the man inquired. "Meeting is prayer, for one who is prayer," said the Sage.
The Sage once said to his followers, during a discussion on prayer: "Your best prayers are never said."
*Brian K. Wilcox. "Meetings with an Anonymous Sage."
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Prayer is a movement from
mastery to mystery.
*Rachel Naomi Remen. Kitchen Table Wisdom.
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In my work, I have often referred to "prayerful" or "prayerfulness". I mean, prayerfull. Prayerful means "full of prayer." Your being is being prayer. The environment you emanate is prayer. Your body is a sanctuary of prayer. And rather than offering prayers as the sole way of praying, you offer yourself. Your whole being prays without your mind intending to pray.
Prayerfulness does not entail a denial of saying prayers. Speaking your prayers, singing, chanting, or reciting written prayers can stimulate a movement inward into reverent silence, the first home of prayer.
The early Christian, Paul, said, in the Christian Bible, "Pray always in the spirit (Greek, pneuma; also, Spirit)." Prayerfulness hints at what he means.
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Yes, prayerfulness arises from silence and solitude, but silence and solitude not merely as absence but alive with presence. This presence is the mystery, and to live within and from this presence, you surrender felt-mastery and self-presentation and rest unclothed and solitary in the Naked and Alone.
Prayerfulness has no clothing or otherness; so, it has pure potential to love without discrimination. Prayerfulness sees oneness amid the multifarious attire of Creation. Prayerfulness is intimately linked with love. In enjoying being alone with the Alone, unclothed with the Naked, you enjoy being with others - you celebrate the world not as a problem to fix but as a friend to befriend and enjoy.
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*©Brian K. Wilcox, 2021.
*Brian's book, An Ache for Union: Poems on Oneness with God through Love, can be ordered through major online booksellers or the publisher AuthorHouse.