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Inner Peace Through Prayer

by Wes Millman

True prayer is the intense longing of the heart for union with the Lord. Thus, the goal of prayer is to connect one's inner self with the highest truth. The ceaseless effort to make our life pure and truthful is the essence of prayer. By living a true life, we become a magnet for the grace and limitless blessings of the Creator. The sincere and pure desires of the heart are then fulfilled.

Too many people regard prayer as a formalized pattern of words. We sadly undervalue prayer when we conceive of it in these terms. Properly understood, prayer, as a form of meditation, is a mature activity indispensable to the fullest development of the personality-----the ultimate integration of our highest faculties. Only in prayer do we achieve that complete and harmonious unity of body, mind, and spirit which gives the frail human reed its unshakable strength.

We must never summon God merely for the gratification of our whims. We derive most benefit from prayer when we use it not as a petition but as a supplication that we may become more like the Lord of Love. Prayer should be regarded as a practice of the Presence of God.

Prayer is our effort to reach God, to commune with the creator of all wisdom, truth, beauty, and strength. This goal of prayer always remains elusive and hidden to our intelligence, for both language and thought fail when we attempt to describe the infinite ground of being.

We do know, however, that whenever we address God in fervent prayer we change both soul and body for the better. It could not happen that any man or woman could pray for a single moment without some good result. "No one ever prayed," said Ralph Waldo Emerson, "without learning something."

In order really to mold personality, prayer and meditation must become a habit. It is meaningless to pray in the morning and to live like a barbarian the remainder of the day. True prayer is a way of life; the truest life is literally a way of prayer.

The best prayers are like the improvisations of gifted lovers, always about the same thing yet never twice the same. We cannot all be as creative in prayer as Saint Theresa or Bernard of Clairvaux, both of whom poured their adoration into words of mystical beauty. Fortunately, we do not need their eloquence; our slightest impulse to prayer is recognized by God. Even if our tongues are overlaid with vanity and deceit, our meager syllables of praise are acceptable to God, and the Creator showers us with strengthening manifestations of pure love.

Today, as never before, prayer must be experienced as the sweet and tender grace of unconditional love. The lack of emphasis on true religious understanding has brought the world to the edge of destruction, both in terms of the pollution of our planet and the proliferation of international terrorism. Prayer, the basic exercise of the Spirit, must be actively practiced in our private lives. In this scientific age, our neglected soul must be made strong enough to assert itself once more. For if the power of prayer is again released and used in the lives of average men and women, if the Spirit declares its aims clearly and boldly, there is yet hope that our prayers for a better world will be answered.

A Simple Prayer to the Divine

when I am not with you

I am alone

for there is no one else

and there is nothing

to comfort me but you

when you are gone

suddenly I am sick

blackness is around me

there is nothing left

I have tried many things

music and cities

stars in their constellations

and the sea

but there is nothing

to comfort me but you

and my poor pride bows down

like grass in a rain-storm

drenched with my longing

the night is unbearable

oh let me run to you

for there is no one

and there is nothing

to comfort me but you

After graduating from college and seminary, Wes worked for eleven years at a local newspaper. Currently, he is a freelance journalist and dealer in religious artifacts. Wes travels the world each year visiting religious leaders of all faiths. He also loves to study the architecture of ancient churches, monasteries, temples, synagogues, and mosques.

For a free set of tapes or CD's of Benedictine monks chanting prayers for world peace, including two free packets of sacred holy water from Lourdes, France, and Fatima, Portugal, for healing, and two free packets of holy ash (blessed by the Pope and the Dalai Lama) to be used as an aid for contemplation and meditation, please send $4.97 for shipping charges to: Wes Milliman, P.O. Box 6094, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48106.

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