I don’t think most of the prayers in my life have made it past my halo. Most of my prayers have been mere chatter or desperate petitions for God to undo some bit of foolishness that I had trotted out. And I’m not for sure what prayer is about, even now; but I know it is helpful, if for nothing else than a meditative effect. “Chatter” prayer is simple, you merely trot out the usual verbiage, the usual “well worn words and ready phrases that build comfortable walls against the wilderness.” (Conrad Aiken). But meditative prayer is a challenge for me. It is so hard to quieten the mind, to follow the biblical admonishment, “Be still and know that I am God.” Shakespeare grasped the importance of the meditative dimension of prayer. In Hamlet, King Claudius kneels in prayer and laments:
My words fly up; my thoughts remain below.
Words without thoughts never to heaven go.