Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Incline Our Hearts, O God!

"Peace does not come through prayers; we humans have to create peace," is currently being Tweeted widely, attributed to the Dalai Lama. That quotable statement makes me ponder prayer in general, how we pray and what we pray for. 
The words of prayer frequently roll off our tongues. If we could make windows into men's souls, would we see those words also rolling off our souls?
We pray to praise and thank God for the blessings of this life. We pray to unburden ourselves to God about our deepest losses and most regrettable transgressions. We pray to ask God for more gifts and interventions.
The words often take the form of "Lord, Grant us _______," and the missing word commonly is "peace." The quote attributable to the Dalai Lama inspires me to wonder if "Incline our hearts," asking God to transform our desires to those that align with God who is Love, Peace and the Way, might not be the better prayer.
The most profound prayer I have ever heard was taught by a nun in a women’s gathering. She said, “Lord, Give me the desire to desire to _______.” “To forgive, to love my enemy, to be generous” . . . you get the idea.
St. Francis said, "Lord, make me an instrument of your peace." I think he got it right.
Some questions for further meditation: Does my heart inhabit my prayers? Do my prayers change my heart? Do my prayers signify a relationship with the Living God?

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