by Mary Byas
To pray is to develop and refine the light of your life. It smoothes the coarseness in your vision. It brings you closer to the homeland of your heart. There are many wonderful ancient and classical prayers from the tradition. Yet there is something irrevocably unique and intimate about your own individual prayer. It would be lovely to create your own prayer. Give yourself time to make a prayer that will become the prayer of your soul. Listen to the voices of longing in your soul. Listen to your hungers. Give attention to the unexpected that lives around the rim of your life. Listen to your memory and to the inrush of your future, to the voices of those near you and those you have lost. Out of all of that attention to your soul, make a prayer that is big enough for your wild soul, yet tender enough for your shy and awkward vulnerability; that has enough healing to gain the ointment of divine forgiveness for your wounds; enough truth and vigour to challenge your blindness and complacency; enough graciousness and vision to mirror your immortal beauty. Write a prayer that is worthy of the destiny to which you have been called. 1
I pray to discover the nature of your vastness; of all I do not know or understand. I long to gain access to the realm of your presence, to witness it, to feel it, be touched by it and changed by it. I long to remember why I chose to enter this world, and to fulfill my reason for coming. I long to live uninhibited by my fears of being anonymous, invisible, undesirable and alone. I seek to engage in life enthusiastically while giving voice to my honest thoughts, feelings and experiences. I hunger for companionship and intimacy and to experience the joy of being both cherished and of cherishing someone special. I hope to continuously deepen my faith in you through hearing and feeling your responses to the cry of my soul.
My first encounter with death shook loose within me the need to find the secret to living life fully. Every day I know I am either living a little more or dying a little more. My soul is insistent on exploring all the nooks and crannies of your unknown, unmanifested world and as much as I’d love to explore with an adventurer’s unbridled heart and spirit, I also know that I have the tendency to cower in the face of fear, uncertainty, confusion, pain and hurt. I ask that my faith be deepened, steeped in the experience of calling out to you and hearing your response, and that my ever deepening faith will allow me to willingly surrender all that stops me from encountering you. I hope that I can pay close enough attention to your presence to allow me to collect the gems of truth you have placed along my path. I seek to withstand the discomfort of living with paradox. I fear I will blind myself to the reality of your presence out of fear, complacency, self will, ignorance, greed or the crippling need to be right. I hunger, instead, to hold onto the larger truth of your presence and love that reverberates throughout my soul and to live my life fueled by this inner knowing.
1. Opening quotation from John O’Donohue, Eternal Echoes, Cliff Street Books, Harper Collins Publishers, 1999, p. 220.