Prayer and humility

I have discoursed several times re prayer and its meditative function. I don’t believe that God sits “up there” waiting to bestow “stuff” on us when we want or to bail us out of a mess we have created with our life. I think prayer, like all dimensions of spirituality, is ultimately a mystery. I don’t know definitively how it works but I do believe that it is important that we pray.  So I think you should pray as you are inclined to pray. You know as much about this mystery as I do. But I hope that you will consider the perspective that I offer from time to time.

Rabbi Adam Jacobs made an interesting point in the Huffington Post that I would like to share. He noted that in the Hebrew language the word “to pray” is a reflexive verb, something you do to yourself. And the root of the word means “to judge”, “rendering the actual translation of prayer as something more akin to self-evaluation. Therefore, when a person stands before God to communicate, she is taking stock of her capabilities, current level of spiritual consciousness and willingness to accept reality for what it truly is. The deeper notion is that we are willfully trying to integrate the inescapable fact that we are utterly dependent on the Creator.”
The upshot of this observation is that humility is an essential element in prayer. And humility always comes hard to those of us who have been educated into “humility.”  And I close with my favorite Shakespearean observation re prayer, King Claudius on his knees in prayer, offering the following observation, “My words fly up.  My thoughts remain below.  Words without thoughts never to heaven go.”

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