Amy Thinks Deep

philosophy for the curious soul 

Prayer As Becoming Known

Inspired by Abraham Heschel’s “The Sigh”, I decided to journey and rediscover the psychological and spiritual meaning, essence, and purpose of prayer. From a modern western view of prayer at least, it is used as a communication with the Divine Powers, as if mankind could persuade the Divine one way or another. Some use it as an intimate relational phenomenon with the Divine. However it is used, prayer is a relation at best.

Heschel says, “the purpose of prayer is to be brought to His attention, to be listened to,… to be known to Him.” In this regard, taking the deepest spiritual essence I am and revealing who I am to the Divine is what prayer is. But this action must be founded and guarded with an underlying belief that will provide the action of prayer with purpose. As a bride, a woman does not at once become vulnerable to her bridegroom. There must first be established between the two a matter of trust, intimate connection, and willingness to grow. Otherwise, becoming vulnerable to one who has not matured in these areas can and most likely will reap emotional disaster for the bride. A relation must be developed for the purpose and belief of coming and “being known” to the Divine via prayer.

For example, my belief and experience with the Divine has been so that I know and trust God to be attentive and compassionate (and also heeding wisdom) as I present my troubled or weak soul to the Divine. I also believe prayer can be a healing experience. And so it has been for me. Experiences follow beliefs.

Prayer is a time and space from one’s heart to connect with the Divine, but not for means to an end. It is neither a satisfaction method, used for neither self, loved ones, nor strangers. It is a meeting time, a coming together. Prayer is a “heartset” (a play off the word “mindset”). Prayer is a psychological and spiritual activity designed to embrace togetherness with the Source of love, of forgiveness, and of many other areas of spiritual life. It is coming to the presence of the Divine so the Divine can become aware of the innermost joys and sorrows of the heart. How (or if) the Divine responds is up to your beliefs.

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