Thoughts And Prayers Quotes

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Certain thoughts are prayers. There are moments when, whatever be the attitude of the body, the soul is on its knees.
Victor Hugo
Over the centuries, mankind has tried many ways of combating the forces of evil... prayer, fasting, good works and so on. Up until Doom, no one seemed to have thought about the double-barrel shotgun. Eat leaden death, demon...
Terry Pratchett
In the silence of the heart God speaks. If you face God in prayer and silence, God will speak to you. Then you will know that you are nothing. It is only when you realize your nothingness, your emptiness, that God can fill you with Himself. Souls of prayer are souls of great silence.
Mother Teresa (In the Heart of the World: Thoughts, Stories and Prayers)
Those who pray for your downfall are concentrating negative thoughts towards you, without taking cognisance of the slippery ground in which they are standing, which could lead to their downfall.
Michael Bassey Johnson
Hungry for love, He looks at you. Thirsty for kindness, He begs of you. Naked for loyalty, He hopes in you. Homeless for shelter in your heart, He asks of you. Will you be that one to Him?
Mother Teresa (In the Heart of the World: Thoughts, Stories and Prayers)
It's funny: I always imagined when I was a kid that adults had some kind of inner toolbox full of shiny tools: the saw of discernment, the hammer of wisdom, the sandpaper of patience. But then when I grew up I found that life handed you these rusty bent old tools - friendships, prayer, conscience, honesty - and said 'do the best you can with these, they will have to do'. And mostly, against all odds, they do.
Anne Lamott (Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith)
A joyful heart is the normal result of a heart burning with love. She gives most who gives with joy.
Mother Teresa (In the Heart of the World: Thoughts, Stories and Prayers)
For Equilibrium, a Blessing: Like the joy of the sea coming home to shore, May the relief of laughter rinse through your soul. As the wind loves to call things to dance, May your gravity by lightened by grace. Like the dignity of moonlight restoring the earth, May your thoughts incline with reverence and respect. As water takes whatever shape it is in, So free may you be about who you become. As silence smiles on the other side of what's said, May your sense of irony bring perspective. As time remains free of all that it frames, May your mind stay clear of all it names. May your prayer of listening deepen enough to hear in the depths the laughter of god.
John O'Donohue (To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings)
Help" is a prayer that is always answered. It doesn't matter how you pray--with your head bowed in silence, or crying out in grief, or dancing. Churches are good for prayer, but so are garages and cars and mountains and showers and dance floors. Years ago I wrote an essay that began, "Some people think that God is in the details, but I have come to believe that God is in the bathroom.
Anne Lamott (Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith)
For so many years, I couldn’t understand why every time I thought that someone finally loved me, like… for real, they would eventually turn to vapor. Every person whom I’ve ever loved is trapped inside of my chest. I’ve breathed all of them in so deeply that I’ve nearly choked and died on every soul that I’ve ever given myself to.
Jennifer Elisabeth (Born Ready: Unleash Your Inner Dream Girl)
Prayer of an Anonymous Abbess: Lord, thou knowest better than myself that I am growing older and will soon be old. Keep me from becoming too talkative, and especially from the unfortunate habit of thinking that I must say something on every subject and at every opportunity. Release me from the idea that I must straighten out other peoples' affairs. With my immense treasure of experience and wisdom, it seems a pity not to let everybody partake of it. But thou knowest, Lord, that in the end I will need a few friends. Keep me from the recital of endless details; give me wings to get to the point. Grant me the patience to listen to the complaints of others; help me to endure them with charity. But seal my lips on my own aches and pains -- they increase with the increasing years and my inclination to recount them is also increasing. I will not ask thee for improved memory, only for a little more humility and less self-assurance when my own memory doesn't agree with that of others. Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally I may be wrong. Keep me reasonably gentle. I do not have the ambition to become a saint -- it is so hard to live with some of them -- but a harsh old person is one of the devil's masterpieces. Make me sympathetic without being sentimental, helpful but not bossy. Let me discover merits where I had not expected them, and talents in people whom I had not thought to possess any. And, Lord, give me the grace to tell them so. Amen
Anonymous
Each of us is merely a small instrument; all of us, after accomplishing our mission, will disappear.
Mother Teresa (In the Heart of the World: Thoughts, Stories and Prayers)
Self-care is how you take your power back.
Lalah Delia
I have always, essentially, been waiting. Waiting to become something else, waiting to be that person I always thought I was on the verge of becoming, waiting for that life I thought I would have. In my head, I was always one step away. In high school, I was biding my time until I could become the college version of myself, the one my mind could see so clearly. In college, the post-college “adult” person was always looming in front of me, smarter, stronger, more organized. Then the married person, then the person I’d become when we have kids. For twenty years, literally, I have waited to become the thin version of myself, because that’s when life will really begin. And through all that waiting, here I am. My life is passing, day by day, and I am waiting for it to start. I am waiting for that time, that person, that event when my life will finally begin. I love movies about “The Big Moment” – the game or the performance or the wedding day or the record deal, the stories that split time with that key event, and everything is reframed, before it and after it, because it has changed everything. I have always wanted this movie-worthy event, something that will change everything and grab me out of this waiting game into the whirlwind in front of me. I cry and cry at these movies, because I am still waiting for my own big moment. I had visions of life as an adventure, a thing to be celebrated and experienced, but all I was doing was going to work and coming home, and that wasn’t what it looked like in the movies. John Lennon once said, “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.” For me, life is what was happening while I was busy waiting for my big moment. I was ready for it and believed that the rest of my life would fade into the background, and that my big moment would carry me through life like a lifeboat. The Big Moment, unfortunately, is an urban myth. Some people have them, in a sense, when they win the Heisman or become the next American Idol. But even that football player or that singer is living a life made up of more than that one moment. Life is a collection of a million, billion moments, tiny little moments and choices, like a handful of luminous, glowing pearl. It takes so much time, and so much work, and those beads and moments are so small, and so much less fabulous and dramatic than the movies. But this is what I’m finding, in glimpses and flashes: this is it. This is it, in the best possible way. That thing I’m waiting for, that adventure, that move-score-worthy experience unfolding gracefully. This is it. Normal, daily life ticking by on our streets and sidewalks, in our houses and apartments, in our beds and at our dinner tables, in our dreams and prayers and fights and secrets – this pedestrian life is the most precious thing any of use will ever experience.
Shauna Niequist (Cold Tangerines: Celebrating the Extraordinary Nature of Everyday Life)
I want you to tell me about every person you’ve ever been in love with. Tell me why you loved them, then tell me why they loved you. Tell me about a day in your life you didn’t think you’d live through. Tell me what the word home means to you and tell me in a way that I’ll know your mother’s name just by the way you describe your bedroom when you were eight. See, I want to know the first time you felt the weight of hate, and if that day still trembles beneath your bones. Do you prefer to play in puddles of rain or bounce in the bellies of snow? And if you were to build a snowman, would you rip two branches from a tree to build your snowman arms or would leave your snowman armless for the sake of being harmless to the tree? And if you would, would you notice how that tree weeps for you because your snowman has no arms to hug you every time you kiss him on the cheek? Do you kiss your friends on the cheek? Do you sleep beside them when they’re sad even if it makes your lover mad? Do you think that anger is a sincere emotion or just the timid motion of a fragile heart trying to beat away its pain? See, I wanna know what you think of your first name, and if you often lie awake at night and imagine your mother’s joy when she spoke it for the very first time. I want you to tell me all the ways you’ve been unkind. Tell me all the ways you’ve been cruel. Tell me, knowing I often picture Gandhi at ten years old beating up little boys at school. If you were walking by a chemical plant where smokestacks were filling the sky with dark black clouds would you holler “Poison! Poison! Poison!” really loud or would you whisper “That cloud looks like a fish, and that cloud looks like a fairy!” Do you believe that Mary was really a virgin? Do you believe that Moses really parted the sea? And if you don’t believe in miracles, tell me — how would you explain the miracle of my life to me? See, I wanna know if you believe in any god or if you believe in many gods or better yet what gods believe in you. And for all the times that you’ve knelt before the temple of yourself, have the prayers you asked come true? And if they didn’t, did you feel denied? And if you felt denied, denied by who? I wanna know what you see when you look in the mirror on a day you’re feeling good. I wanna know what you see when you look in the mirror on a day you’re feeling bad. I wanna know the first person who taught you your beauty could ever be reflected on a lousy piece of glass. If you ever reach enlightenment will you remember how to laugh? Have you ever been a song? Would you think less of me if I told you I’ve lived my entire life a little off-key? And I’m not nearly as smart as my poetry I just plagiarize the thoughts of the people around me who have learned the wisdom of silence. Do you believe that concrete perpetuates violence? And if you do — I want you to tell me of a meadow where my skateboard will soar. See, I wanna know more than what you do for a living. I wanna know how much of your life you spend just giving, and if you love yourself enough to also receive sometimes. I wanna know if you bleed sometimes from other people’s wounds, and if you dream sometimes that this life is just a balloon — that if you wanted to, you could pop, but you never would ‘cause you’d never want it to stop. If a tree fell in the forest and you were the only one there to hear — if its fall to the ground didn’t make a sound, would you panic in fear that you didn’t exist, or would you bask in the bliss of your nothingness? And lastly, let me ask you this: If you and I went for a walk and the entire walk, we didn’t talk — do you think eventually, we’d… kiss? No, wait. That’s asking too much — after all, this is only our first date.
Andrea Gibson
Seeking the face of God in everything, everyone, all the time, and his hand in every happening; This is what it means to be contemplative in the heart of the world. Seeing and adoring the presence of Jesus, especially in the lowly appearance of bread, and in the distressing disguise of the poor.
Mother Teresa (In the Heart of the World: Thoughts, Stories and Prayers)
My whole strength lies in prayer and sacrifice, these are my invincible arms; they can move hearts far better than words, I know it by experience.
Thérèse de Lisieux (The Little Way for Every Day: Thoughts from Th�r�se of Lisieux)
We too are called to withdraw at certain intervals into deeper silence and aloneness with God, together as a community as well as personally; to be alone with Him — not with our books, thoughts, and memories but completely stripped of everything — to dwell lovingly in His presence, silent, empty, expectant, and motionless. We cannot find God in noise or agitation.
Mother Teresa (In the Heart of the World: Thoughts, Stories and Prayers)
It is of great importance, when we begin to practise prayer, not to let ourselves be frightened by our own thoughts.
Teresa de Jesús (The Life of Saint Teresa of Ávila by Herself)
There are thoughts which are prayers. There are moments when, whatever the posture of the body, the soul is on its knees.
Victor Hugo
Losing faith is a complicated business and takes time. There are no epiphanies, no "moments of truth." It takes much thought and concentration in the later phases, which thenselves come about through an accumulation of small accidents: examples of general injustice, misfortune falling upon the godly, prayers of one's own unanswered.
Thomas Pynchon (V.)
Certain thoughts are prayers. There are moments when, whatever the posture of the body, the soul is on it's knees.
Victor Hugo
It is of great significance if there is a person who truly prays in a family. Prayer attracts God's Grace and all the members of the family feel it, even those whose hearts have grown cold. Pray always.
Thaddeus of Vitovnica (Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives: The Life and Teachings of Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica)
I have stayed these years in my hovel because of you. I have taught myself languages because of you. I have made my body strong because I thought you might be pleased by a strong body. I have lived my life with only the prayer that some sudden dawn you might glance in my direction. I have not known a moment in years when the sight of you did not send my heart careening against my rib cage. I have not known a night when your visage did not accompany me to sleep. There has not been a morning when you did not flutter behind my waking eyelids.
William Goldman (The Princess Bride)
Suffering is nothing by itself. But suffering shared with the passion of Christ is a wonderful gift, the most beautiful gift, a token of love.
Mother Teresa (In the Heart of the World: Thoughts, Stories and Prayers)
My love for you is a prayer, she thought. Love is the only prayer I know.
Marion Zimmer Bradley (The Mists of Avalon (Avalon, #1))
Jane: Mr. Rochester, if ever I did a good deed in my life-if ever I thought a good thought-if ever I prayed a sincere and blameless prayer-if ever I wished a righteous wish-I am rewarded now. To be your wife is, for me, to be as happy as I can be on earth. Mr. Rochester: Because you delight in sacrifice. Jane: Sacrifice! What do I sacrifice? Famine for food, expectation for content. To be privileged to put my arms round what I value-to press my lips to what I love-to repose on what I trust: is that to make a sacrifice? If so, then certainly I delight in sacrifice.
Charlotte Brontë (Jane Eyre)
Courage is fear that has said its prayers.
Anne Lamott (Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith)
He does not ask much of us, merely a thought of Him from time to time, a little act of adoration, sometimes to ask for His grace, sometimes to offer Him your sufferings, at other times to thank Him for the graces, past and present, He has bestowed on you, in the midst of your troubles to take solace in Him as often as you can. Lift up your heart to Him during your meals and in company; the least little remembrance will always be the most pleasing to Him. One need not cry out very loudly; He is nearer to us than we think.
Brother Lawrence (The Practice of the Presence of God)
‎"A humble and prayerful person will find a thousand things in the Bible, which the proud student will utterly fail to discern." ~ J.C. Ryle
J.C. Ryle
How could anybody confuse truth with beauty, I thought as I looked at him. Truth came with sunken eyes, bony or scarred, decayed. Its teeth were bad, its hair gray and unkempt. While beauty was empty as a gourd, vain as a parakeet. But it had power. It smelled of musk and oranges and made you close your eyes in a prayer.
Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
Joy must be one of the pivots of our life. It is the token of a generous personality. Sometimes it is also a mantle that clothes a life of sacrifice and self-giving. A person who has this gift often reaches high summits. He or she is like sun in a community.
Mother Teresa (In the Heart of the World: Thoughts, Stories and Prayers)
Do you love me, Westley? Is that it?’ He couldn’t believe it. ‘Do I love you? My God, if your love were a grain of sand, mine would be a universe of beaches. If your love were—‘ ‘I don’t understand the first one yet,’ Buttercup interrupted. She was starting to get very excited now. ‘Let me get this straight. Are you saying my love is the size of a grain of sand and yours is this other thing? Images just confuse me so—is this universal business of yours bigger than my sand? Help me, Westley. I have the feeling we’re on the verge of something just terribly important.’ ‘I have stayed these years in my hovel because of you. I have taught myself languages because of you. I have made my body strong because I thought you might be pleased by a strong body. I have lived my life with only the prayer that some sudden dawn you might glance in my direction. I have not known a moment in years when the sight of you did not send my heart careening against my rib cage. I have not known a night when your visage did not accompany me to sleep. There has not been a morning when you did not flutter behind my waking eyelids….Is any of this getting through to you, Buttercup, or do you want me to go on for a while?’ ‘Never stop.’ ‘There has not been—‘ ‘If you’re teasing me, Westley, I’m just going to kill you.’ ‘How can you even dream I might be teasing?’ ‘Well, you haven’t once said you loved me.’ ‘That’s all you need? Easy. I love you. Okay? Want it louder? I love you. Spell it out, should I? I ell-oh-vee-ee why-oh-you. Want it backward? You love I.’ ‘You are teasing now; aren’t you?’ ‘A little maybe; I’ve been saying it so long to you, you just wouldn’t listen. Every time you said ‘Farm boy do this’ you thought I was answering ‘As you wish’ but that’s only because you were hearing wrong. ‘I love you’ was what it was, but you never heard, and you never heard.
William Goldman (The Princess Bride)
In loving one another through our works we bring an increase of grace and a growth in divine love.
Mother Teresa (In the Heart of the World: Thoughts, Stories and Prayers)
God’s revelation does not need the light of human genius, the polish and strength of human culture, the brilliancy of human thought, the force of human brains to adorn or enforce it; but it does demand the simplicity, the docility, humility, and faith of a child’s heart.
E.M. Bounds (Power Through Prayer)
Christ came to be Father's compassion to the world. Be kind in your actions. Do not think that you are the only one who can do efficient work, work worth showing. This makes you harsh in your judgment of others who may not have the same talents. Do your best and trust that others do their best. And be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.
Mother Teresa (In the Heart of the World: Thoughts, Stories and Prayers)
Humility is the mother of all virtues; purity, charity and obedience. It is in being humble that our love becomes real, devoted and ardent. If you are humble nothing will touch you, neither praise nor disgrace, because you know what you are. If you are blamed you will not be discouraged. If they call you a saint you will not put yourself on a pedestal.
Mother Teresa (In the Heart of the World: Thoughts, Stories and Prayers)
When they throw the water on the witch, she says, “Who would have thought a good little girl like you could destroy my beautiful wickedness”. That line inspired my life. I sometimes say it to myself before I go to sleep, like a prayer.
John Waters
HELPED are those who are content to be themselves; they will never lack mystery in their lives and the joys of self-discovery will be constant. HELPED are those who love the entire cosmos rather than their own tiny country, city, or farm, for to them will be shown the unbroken web of life and the meaning of infinity. HELPED are those who live in quietness, knowing neither brand name nor fad; they shall live every day as if in eternity, and each moment shall be as full as it is long. HELPED are those who love others unsplit off from their faults; to them will be given clarity of vision. HELPED are those who create anything at all, for they shall relive the thrill of their own conception, and realize an partnership in the creation of the Universe that keeps them responsible and cheerful. HELPED are those who love the Earth, their mother, and who willingly suffer that she may not die; in their grief over her pain they will weep rivers of blood, and in their joy in her lively response to love, they will converse with the trees. HELPED are those whose ever act is a prayer for harmony in the Universe, for they are the restorers of balance to our planet. To them will be given the insight that every good act done anywhere in the cosmos welcomes the life of an animal or a child. HELPED are those who risk themselves for others' sakes; to them will be given increasing opportunities for ever greater risks. Theirs will be a vision of the word in which no one's gift is despised or lost. HELPED are those who strive to give up their anger; their reward will be that in any confrontation their first thoughts will never be of violence or of war. HELPED are those whose every act is a prayer for peace; on them depends the future of the world. HELPED are those who forgive; their reward shall be forgiveness of every evil done to them. It will be in their power, therefore, to envision the new Earth. HELPED are those who are shown the existence of the Creator's magic in the Universe; they shall experience delight and astonishment without ceasing. HELPED are those who laugh with a pure heart; theirs will be the company of the jolly righteous. HELPED are those who love all the colors of all the human beings, as they love all the colors of the animals and plants; none of their children, nor any of their ancestors, nor any parts of themselves, shall be hidden from them. HELPED are those who love the lesbian, the gay, and the straight, as they love the sun, the moon, and the stars. None of their children, nor any of their ancestors, nor any parts of themselves, shall be hidden from them. HELPED are those who love the broken and the whole; none of their children, nor any of their ancestors, nor any parts of themselves, shall be hidden from them. HELPED are those who do not join mobs; theirs shall be the understanding that to attack in anger is to murder in confusion. HELPED are those who find the courage to do at least one small thing each day to help the existence of another--plant, animal, river, or human being. They shall be joined by a multitude of the timid. HELPED are those who lose their fear of death; theirs is the power to envision the future in a blade of grass. HELPED are those who love and actively support the diversity of life; they shall be secure in their differences. HELPED are those who KNOW.
Alice Walker
God hears your every thought, whether you dress it up with 'Thee' and 'Thou' or not.
Catherine Richmond (Spring for Susannah)
I’m saying a prayer. Maybe you ought to, too. It’s going to take us a miracle to get through this.” Whether he was serious or not, Claire sent the prayer up toward heaven, and she thought the others did, too. So it seemed kind of miraculous when the doorbell rang. “At least they’re getting more polite when they try to kill us,” Shane said.
Rachel Caine (Glass Houses (The Morganville Vampires, #1))
Or you might shout at the top of your lungs or whisper into your sleeve, "I hate you, God." That is a prayer too, because it is real, it is truth, and maybe it is the first sincere thought you've had in months.
Anne Lamott (Help Thanks Wow: The Three Essential Prayers)
The advantage to being a wicked bastard is that everyone pesters the Lord on your behalf; if volume of prayers from my saintly enemies means anything, I'll be saved when the Archbishop of Canterbury is damned. It's a comforting thought.
George MacDonald Fraser (Flashman at the Charge)
Pounce had it easier than any of us. No one noticed a black cat in the street. He stopped here and there to sniff aught of interest. Wherever our Rat stopped, Pounce was there, close enough to see up the Rat's nose. I was so proud. Now there was a proper god, making himself useful! Since my thought might be deemed blasphemy, I said silent prayers to the Goddess and to Mithros. I begged forgiveness and asked them not to misunderstand. Since I wasn't blasted where I stood, I guess they forgave me, or they hadn't heard my blasphemy.
Tamora Pierce (Terrier (Beka Cooper, #1))
For each new morning let there be flow of love. Let there be light of happiness in every direction.
Amit Ray (Walking the Path of Compassion)
Why does one love? How queer it is to see only one being in the world, to have only one thought in one's mind, only one desire in the heart, and only one name on the lips--a name which comes up continually, rising, like the water in a spring, from the depths of the soul to the lips, a name which one repeats over and over again, which one whispers ceaselessly, everywhere, like a prayer.
Guy de Maupassant (The Complete Short Stories of Guy de Maupassant, Part One)
He thought about science, about faith, about man. he thought about how every culture, in every country, in every time, had always shared one thing. We all had the Creator. We used different names, different faces, and different prayers, but God was the universal constant for man. God was the symbol we all shared...the symbol of all the mysteries of life that we could not understand. The ancients had praised God as a symbol of our limitless human potential, but that ancient symbol had been lost over time. Until now.
Dan Brown (The Lost Symbol (Robert Langdon, #3))
RESIST no thought; RETAIN no thought; REACT to no thought; RETURN to the sacred word.
Cynthia Bourgeault (Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening)
people used to tell me that i had beautiful hands told me so often, in fact, that one day i started to believe them until i asked my photographer father, “hey daddy could i be a hand model” to which he said no way, i dont remember the reason he gave me and i wouldve been upset, but there were far too many stuffed animals to hold too many homework assignment to write, too many boys to wave at too many years to grow, we used to have a game, my dad and i about holding hands cus we held hands everywhere, and every time either he or i would whisper a great big number to the other, pretending that we were keeping track of how many times we had held hands that we were sure, this one had to be 8 million 2 thousand 7 hundred and fifty three. hands learn more than minds do, hands learn how to hold other hands, how to grip pencils and mold poetry, how to tickle pianos and dribble a basketball, and grip the handles of a bicycle how to hold old people, and touch babies , i love hands like i love people, they're the maps and compasses in which we navigate our way through life, some people read palms to tell your future, but i read hands to tell your past, each scar marks the story worth telling, each calloused palm, each cracked knuckle is a missed punch or years in a factory, now ive seen middle eastern hands clenched in middle eastern fists pounding against each other like war drums, each country sees theyre fists as warriors and others as enemies. even if fists alone are only hands. but this is not about politics, no hands arent about politics, this is a poem about love, and fingers. fingers interlock like a beautiful zipper of prayer. one time i grabbed my dads hands so that our fingers interlocked perfectly but he changed positions, saying no that hand hold is for your mom. kids high five, but grown ups, we learn how to shake hands, you need a firm hand shake,but dont hold on too tight, but dont let go too soon, but dont hold down for too long, but hands are not about politics, when did it become so complicated. i always thought its simple. the other day my dad looked at my hands, as if seeing them for the first time, and with laughter behind his eye lids, with all the seriousness a man of his humor could muster, he said you know you got nice hands, you could’ve been a hand model, and before the laughter can escape me, i shake my head at him, and squeeze his hand, 8 million 2 thousand 7hundred and fifty four.
Sarah Kay
I don't know very many people who can piece together eloquent prayers when their souls are wounded. Words don't come at those times, but tears do. I have always thought of my tears as prayers.
Susan Meissner (The Shape of Mercy)
DIG Deep = "get deliberate, inspired, & going" Deliberate in their thoughts and behaviors through prayer, meditation, or simply by setting intentions; Inspired to make new and different choices; Going. They take action.
Brené Brown
I would rather be what God chose to make me than the most glorious creature that I could think of; for to have been born in God's thought, and then made by God is the dearest, grandest, and most precious thing in all thinking." This is a prayer of contentment
C.S. Lewis
But too much reading had taken its toll. William found that he now thought of prayer as a sophisticated way of pleading with thunderstorms.
Terry Pratchett (The Truth)
Fight your battles through prayer, And win your battles through faith.
Luffina Lourduraj
The gods heard my prayer, she thought. She felt so numb and dreamy. My skin has turned to porcelain, to ivory, to steel.
George R.R. Martin (A Storm of Swords (A Song of Ice and Fire, #3))
The work of God is done on God's timetable. His answers to our prayers come always in time--His time. His thoughts are far higher than ours, His wisdom past understanding.
Elisabeth Elliot (A Chance to Die: The Life and Legacy of Amy Carmichael)
Healing—takes time, and—so does—not healing. Chose—how you spend your time —wisely.
Lalah Delia
I thought about the future, the oceans and continents he would cross, far away from everyone who knew and loved him. Far outside the sphere of his mothers prayers. Among the women of the future, there was one who would know his secrets and bear his children, and witness the changes the years worked on him. And it wouldnt be me. -Liberty Jones
Lisa Kleypas (Sugar Daddy (Travises, #1))
God is up to something, but you will never know unless you figure out the difference between who is the messenger carrying your future and who is the person holding you back.
Shannon L. Alder
The only thing to seek in contemplative prayer is God; and we seek Him successfully when we realize that we cannot find Him unless He shows Himself to us, and yet at the same time that He would not have inspired us to seek Him unless we had already found Him.
Thomas Merton (Thoughts in Solitude)
Her name sprang to my lips at moments in strange prayers and praises which I myself did not understand. My eyes were often full of tears (I could not tell why) and at times a flood from my heart seemed to pour itself out into my bosom. I thought little of the future. I did not know whether I would ever speak to her or not or, if I spoke to her, how I could tell her of my confused adoration.
James Joyce (Araby)
The most powerful thought is a prayerful thought. When I'm praying for you, I am praying for my own peace of mind. I can only have for myself what I am willing to wish for you.
Marianne Williamson (Tears to Triumph: The Spiritual Journey from Suffering to Enlightenment)
She emptied her mind of all thought of herself, of her children, of all anger, of all rebellion, of all questions. Then with a profound and deeply willed desire to believe, to be heard, as she had done every day since the murder of Carlo Rizzi, she said the necessary prayers for the soul of Michael Corleone.
Mario Puzo (The Godfather (The Godfather, #1))
Do you often feel like parched ground, unable to produce anything worthwhile? I do. When I am in need of refreshment, it isn't easy to think of the needs of others. But I have found that if, instead of praying for my own comfort and satisfaction, I ask the Lord to enable me to give to others, an amazing thing often happens - I find my own needs wonderfully met. Refreshment comes in ways I would never have thought of, both for others, and then, incidentally, for myself.
Elisabeth Elliot
Where there is prayer, the fallen spirits have no power.
Thaddeus of Vitovnica (Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives: The Life and Teachings of Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica)
Here are the two best prayers I know: "Help me help me, help me," and "Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Anne Lamott (Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith)
God should always be our first thought, not our last resort.
Kate McGahan (JACK McAFGHAN: Reflections on Life with my Master)
The Day is Done The day is done, and the darkness Falls from the wings of Night, As a feather is wafted downward From an eagle in his flight. I see the lights of the village Gleam through the rain and the mist, And a feeling of sadness comes o'er me That my soul cannot resist: A feeling of sadness and longing, That is not akin to pain, And resembles sorrow only As the mist resembles the rain. Come, read to me some poem, Some simple and heartfelt lay, That shall soothe this restless feeling, And banish the thoughts of day. Not from the grand old masters, Not from the bards sublime, Whose distant footsteps echo Through the corridors of Time. For, like strains of martial music, Their mighty thoughts suggest Life's endless toil and endeavor; And to-night I long for rest. Read from some humbler poet, Whose songs gushed from his heart, As showers from the clouds of summer, Or tears from the eyelids start; Who, through long days of labor, And nights devoid of ease, Still heard in his soul the music Of wonderful melodies. Such songs have power to quiet The restless pulse of care, And come like the benediction That follows after prayer. Then read from the treasured volume The poem of thy choice, And lend to the rhyme of the poet The beauty of thy voice. And the night shall be filled with music, And the cares, that infest the day, Shall fold their tents, like the Arabs, And as silently steal away.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (The Belfry of Bruges and Other Poems)
Never say, "O Lord, I am a miserable sinner." Who will help you? You are the help of the universe. What in this universe can help you? What can prevail over you? You are the God of the universe; where can you seek for help? Never help came from anywhere but from yourself. In your ignorance, every prayer that you made and that was answered, you thought was answered by some Being, but you answered the prayer yourself unknowingly. The help came from yourself, and you fondly imagined that someone was sending help to you. There is no help for you outside of yourself; you are the creator of the universe. Like the silkworm, you have built a cocoon around yourself. Who will save you? Burst your own cocoon and come out as a beautiful butterfly, as the free soul. Then alone you will see Truth.
Vivekananda (The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda, Volume 3)
Not what he wishes and prays for does a man get, but what he justly earns. His wishes and prayers are only gratified and answered when they harmonize with his thoughts and actions.
James Allen (As a Man Thinketh)
If you want to determine if your thoughts are from the enemy or from God, ask yourself, 'Are these thoughts I’d choose to have?
Stormie Omartian
Scatter as a prayer escaping my lips... as orchids blooming in clouds.
Sanober Khan (A Thousand Flamingos)
All religions are man-made; God has not yet revealed himself beyond doubt to anybody.
Bangambiki Habyarimana (Pearls Of Eternity)
Let his sword break and his shield shatter, Sansa thought coldly as she shoved out through the doors, let his courage fail him and every man desert him.
George R.R. Martin (A Clash of Kings (A Song of Ice and Fire, #2))
Gorgeous, amazing things come into our lives when we are paying attention: mangoes, grandnieces, Bach, ponds. This happens more often when we have as little expectation as possible. If you say, "Well, that's pretty much what I thought I'd see," you are in trouble. At that point you have to ask yourself why you are even here. [...] Astonishing material and revelation appear in our lives all the time. Let it be. Unto us, so much is given. We just have to be open for business.
Anne Lamott (Help Thanks Wow: The Three Essential Prayers)
Your job then, should you choose to accept it, is to keep searching for the metaphors, rituals and teachers that will help you move ever closer to divinity. The Yogic scriptures say that God responds to the sacred prayers and efforts of human beings in any way whatsoever that mortals choose to worship—just so long as those prayers are sincere. I think you have every right to cherry-pick when it comes to moving your spirit and finding peace in God. I think you are free to search for any metaphor whatsoever which will take you across the worldly divide whenever you need to be transported or comforted. It's nothing to be embarrassed about. It's the history of mankind's search for holiness. If humanity never evolved in its exploration of the divine, a lot of us would still be worshipping golden Egyptian statues of cats. And this evolution of religious thinking does involve a fair bit of cherry-picking. You take whatever works from wherever you can find it, and you keep moving toward the light. The Hopi Indians thought that the world's religions each contained one spiritual thread, and that these threads are always seeking each other, wanting to join. When all the threads are finally woven together they will form a rope that will pull us out of this dark cycle of history and into the next realm. More contemporarily, the Dalai Lama has repeated the same idea, assuring his Western students repeatedly that they needn't become Tibetan Buddhists in order to be his pupils. He welcomes them to take whatever ideas they like out of Tibetan Buddhism and integrate these ideas into their own religious practices. Even in the most unlikely and conservative of places, you can find sometimes this glimmering idea that God might be bigger than our limited religious doctrines have taught us. In 1954, Pope Pius XI, of all people, sent some Vatican delegates on a trip to Libya with these written instructions: "Do NOT think that you are going among Infidels. Muslims attain salvation, too. The ways of Providence are infinite." But doesn't that make sense? That the infinite would be, indeed ... infinite? That even the most holy amongst us would only be able to see scattered pieces of the eternal picture at any given time? And that maybe if we could collect those pieces and compare them, a story about God would begin to emerge that resembles and includes everyone? And isn't our individual longing for transcendence all just part of this larger human search for divinity? Don't we each have the right to not stop seeking until we get as close to the source of wonder as possible? Even if it means coming to India and kissing trees in the moonlight for a while? That's me in the corner, in other words. That's me in the spotlight. Choosing my religion.
Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love)
Let all your thoughts be with the Most High, and direct your humble prayers unceasingly to Christ. If you cannot contemplate high and heavenly things, take refuge in the Passion of Christ, and love to dwell within His Sacred Wounds. For if you devoutly seek the Wounds of Jesus and the precious marks of His Passion, you will find great strength in all troubles.
Thomas à Kempis (The Inner Life)
Our life of contemplation shall retain the following characteristics: —missionary: by going out physically or in spirit in search of souls all over the universe. —contemplative: by gathering the whole universe at the very center of our hearts where the Lord of the universe abides, and allowing the pure water of divine grace to flow plentifully and unceasingly from the source itself, on the whole of his creation. —universal: by praying and contemplating with all and for all, especially with and for the spiritually poorest of the poor.
Mother Teresa (In the Heart of the World: Thoughts, Stories and Prayers)
We often ask God to show up. We pray prayers of rescue. Perhaps God would ask us to be that rescue, to be His body, to move for things that matter. He is not invisible when we come alive.
Jamie Tworkowski (If You Feel Too Much: Thoughts on Things Found and Lost and Hoped For)
Lord, let not our souls be busy inns that have no room for thee or thine, But quiet homes of prayer and praise, where thou mayest find fit company, Where the needful cares of life are wisely ordered and put away, And wide, sweet spaces kept for thee; where holy thoughts pass up and down And fervent longings watch and wait thy coming.
Julian of Norwich
To fail to experience gratitude when walking through the corridors of the Metropolitan Museum, when listening to the music of Bach or Beethoven, when exercising our freedom to speak, or ... to give, or withhold, our assent, is to fail to recognize how much we have received from the great wellsprings of human talent and concern that gave us Shakespeare, Abraham Lincoln, Mark Twain, our parents, our friends. We need a rebirth of gratitude for those who have cared for us, living and, mostly, dead. The high moments of our way of life are their gifts to us. We must remember them in our thoughts and in our prayers; and in our deeds.
William F. Buckley Jr.
Mothers care in volumes of tears and earnestness of prayers and a depth of emotion others cannot fathom.
Richelle E. Goodrich (Making Wishes: Quotes, Thoughts, & a Little Poetry for Every Day of the Year)
There is nothing behind the curtains of religions, people put there whatever their imaginations can fathom
Bangambiki Habyarimana (Pearls Of Eternity)
I despaired at the thought that my life might slip by without seeing God show himself mightily on our behalf.
Jim Cymbala (Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire: What Happens When God's Spirit Invades the Heart of His People)
At the end of the day, the enemy is going to be sorry he ever messed with you. You’re about to become his worst nightmare a million times over. He thought he could wear you down, sure that after a while you’d give up without much of a fight. Well, just wait till he encounters the fight of God’s Spirit in you. Because . . . This. Means. War.
Priscilla Shirer (Fervent: A Woman's Battle Plan to Serious, Specific, and Strategic Prayer)
May I be, this day, an instrument of love and healing.
Marianne Williamson (Illuminata: Thoughts, Prayers, Rites of Passage)
I was twenty-two, the same age she was when she'd been pregnant with me. She was going to leave my life at the same moment that I came into hers, I thought. For some reason that sentence came fully formed into my head just then, temporarily blotting out the Fuck them prayer. I almost howled in agony. I almost choked to death on what I knew before I knew. I was going to live the rest of my life without my mother.
Cheryl Strayed (Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail)
Every positive thought is a silent prayer which will change your life.
Bryant McGill (Simple Reminders: Inspiration for Living Your Best Life)
Each mind conceives god in its own way. There may be as many variation of the god figure as there are people in the world
Bangambiki Habyarimana (Pearls Of Eternity)
Her eyes were of different colors, the left as brown as autumn, the right as gray as Atlantic wind. Both seemed alive with questions that would never be voiced, as if no words yet existed with which to frame them. She was nineteen years old, or thereabouts; her exact age was unknown. Her face was as fresh as an apple and as delicate as blossom, but a marked depression in the bones beneath her left eye gave her features a disturbing asymmetry. Her mouth never curved into a smile. God, it seemed, had withheld that possibility, as surely as from a blind man the power of sight. He had withheld much else. Amparo was touched—by genius, by madness, by the Devil, or by a conspiracy of all these and more. She took no sacraments and appeared incapable of prayer. She had a horror of clocks and mirrors. By her own account she spoke with Angels and could hear the thoughts of animals and trees. She was passionately kind to all living things. She was a beam of starlight trapped in flesh and awaiting only the moment when it would continue on its journey into forever.” (p.33)
Tim Willocks (The Religion (Tannhauser, #1))
Young man, do not forget to pray. Each time you pray, if you do so sincerely, there will be the flash of a new feeling in it, and a new thought as well, one you did not know before, which will give you fresh courage; and you will understand that prayer is education.
Fyodor Dostoevsky (The Brothers Karamazov)
I learned that in these disasters, all we can do is tell our In Case of Emergencies that their grief is real, and if it lasts forever, then we will grieve with them forever. As far as I was able to tell during those two years, there was nothing else worth saying. It was not going to be all right, ever. Everything doesn’t happen for a decent reason. I was Sister’s In Case of Emergency and I couldn’t fix her emergency. I couldn’t do anything at all except feed her, hold her when she cried, pray angry prayers, keep showing up, and hope that time and my home and presence would offer healing.
Glennon Doyle Melton (Carry On, Warrior: Thoughts on Life Unarmed)
Do you believe in God?” “Not really,” he said. “No.” “Then why do we come here?” He sucked thoughtfully on his Tums tablet and put his arm around me, draping me under his musty woolen prayer shawl, and then shrugged. “I’ve been wrong before,” he said.
Jonathan Tropper (This is Where I Leave You)
Let us remind ourselves of the terminology. A theist believes in a supernatural intelligence who, in addition to his main work of creating the universe in the first place, is still around to oversee and influence the subsequent fate of his initial creation. In many theistic belief systems, the deity is intimately involved in human affairs. He answers prayers; forgives or punishes sins; intervenes in the world by performing miracles; frets about good and bad deeds, and knows when we do them (or even think about doing them). A deist, too, believes in a supernatural intelligence, but one whose activities were confined to setting up the laws that govern the universe in the first place. The deist God never intervenes thereafter, and certainly has no specific interest in human affairs. Pantheists don't believe in a supernatural God at all, but use the word God as a non-supernatural synonym for Nature, or for the Universe, or for the lawfulness that governs its workings. Deists differ from theists in that their God does not answer prayers, is not interested in sins or confessions, does not read our thoughts and does not intervene with capricious miracles. Deists differ from pantheists in that the deist God is some kind of cosmic intelligence, rather than the pantheist's metaphoric or poetic synonym for the laws of the universe. Pantheism is sexed-up atheism. Deism is watered-down theism.
Richard Dawkins (The God Delusion)
I feel my griefs too, and there scarce is ground Upon my flesh t'inflict another wound. Yet dare I not complain, or wish for death With holy Paul; lest it be thought the breath Of discontent; or that these prayers be For weariness of life, not love of thee.
Ben Jonson (Epigrams; And, the Forest)
Men lose their birthrights for a mess of pottage only if they stop using the gifts given them by God for their betterment. By prayer. That is the first and greatest gift. Use the gift of prayer. Ask for strength of mind, and a clear vision. Then sense. Use your sense. … Think long and well. By prayer and good thought you will conquer all enemies.
Richard Llewellyn (How Green Was My Valley)
There is no water in oxygen, no water in hydrogen: it comes bubbling fresh from the imagination of the living God, rushing from under the great white throne of the glacier. The very thought of it makes one gasp with an elemental joy no metaphysician can analyse. The water itself, that dances, and sings, and slakes the wonderful thirst--symbol and picture of that draught for which the woman of Samaria made her prayer to Jesus--this lovely thing itself, whose very wetness is a delight to every inch of the human body in its embrace--this live thing which, if I might, I would have running through my room, yea, babbling along my table--this water is its own self its own truth, and is therein a truth of God.
George MacDonald
I was always amused by the prayers of the saintly. “God do this, God don’t do that.” I thought God probably laughed at them too, unless He was a little annoyed by their temerity.
Jean Plaidy (The Courts of Love: The Story of Eleanor of Aquitaine (Queens of England, #5))
Prayer… panacea for some, placebo to others. I thought of it as an epidural administered through the soul to anesthetize the mind.
Clyde DeSouza (Memories With Maya)
Stop and say something good about yourself! Believe what you have just said! Pray for what you have just believed! Have faith for what you just prayed for! Work out that faith! ...and surely goodness and mercy shall follow you!
Israelmore Ayivor
Prayer is only another name for good, clean, direct thinking. When you pray, think well what you are saying, and make your thoughts into things that are solid. In that manner, your prayer will have strength, and that strength shall become part of you, mind, body, and spirit.
Richard Llewellyn (How Green Was My Valley)
I know not by what method rare But this I know, God answers prayer. I know that he has given his Word Which tells me prayer is always heard And will be answered soon or late And so I pray and calmly wait. I know not if the blessing sought Will come in just the way I thought But leave my prayers with him alone Whose will is wiser than my own Assured that he will grant my quest Or send some answer far more blessed.
Eliza M. Hickok
The ship was sinking---and sinking fast. The captain told the passengers and crew, "We've got to get the lifeboats in the water right away." But the crew said, "First we have to end capitalist oppression of the working class. Then we'll take care of the lifeboats." Then the women said, "First we want equal pay for equal work. The lifeboats can wait." The racial minorities said, "First we need to end racial discrimination. Then seating in the lifeboats will be allotted fairly." The captain said, "These are all important issues, but they won't matter a damn if we don't survive. We've got to lower the lifeboats right away!" But the religionists said, "First we need to bring prayer back into the classroom. This is more important than lifeboats." Then the pro-life contingent said, "First we must outlaw abortion. Fetuses have just as much right to be in those lifeboats as anyone else." The right-to-choose contingent said, "First acknowledge our right to abortion, then we'll help with the lifeboats." The socialists said, "First we must redistribute the wealth. Once that's done everyone will work equally hard at lowering the lifeboats." The animal-rights activists said, "First we must end the use of animals in medical experiments. We can't let this be subordinated to lowering the lifeboats." Finally the ship sank, and because none of the lifeboats had been lowered, everyone drowned. The last thought of more than one of them was, "I never dreamed that solving humanity's problems would take so long---or that the ship would sink so SUDDENLY.
Daniel Quinn
Last night, I spoke to God. I told Him my plans. He started to cry. I thought I was great to move The Greatest to tears. He said that He was crying only because my plans were very different than His plans for me.
Kamand Kojouri
When we pray for God to illumine our path, we are saying, ‘Dear God, please show me the way. What thoughts do I need to think, to be able to navigate my life at this point? What perceptions do I need; what insights will guide me? Who do I need to forgive? What parts of my personality do I need to look at; what changes do I need to make? Please come upon me and heal my life. Amen.
Marianne Williamson (Everyday Grace: Having Hope, Finding Forgiveness And Making Miracles)
Whenever you go out-of-doors, draw the chin in, carry the crown of the head high, and fill the lungs to the utmost; drink in the sunshine; greet your friends with a smile, and put soul into every handclasp. Do not fear being misunderstood and do not waste a minute thinking about your enemies. Try to fix firmly in your mind what you would like to do; and then, without veering off direction, you will move straight to the goal. Keep your mind on the great and splendid things you would like to do, and then, as the days go gliding away, you will find yourself unconsciously seizing upon the opportunities that are requiered for the fulfillment of your desire, just as the coral insect takes from the running tide the element it needs. Picture in your mind the able, earnest, useful person you desire to be, and the thought you hold is hourly transforming you into that particular individual... Thought is supreme. Preserve a right mental attitude - the attitude of courage, frankness, and good cheer. To think rightly is to create. All things come through desire and every sincere prayer is answered. We become like that on which our hearts are fixed. Carry your chin in and the crown of your head high. We are good in the chrysalis.
Elbert Hubbard
It was at a church service in Munich that I saw him, a former S.S. man who had stood guard at the shower room door in the processing center at Ravensbruck. He was the first of our actual jailers that I had seen since that time. And suddenly it was all there – the roomful of mocking men, the heaps of clothing, Betsie's pain-blanched face. He came up to me as the church was emptying, beaming and bowing. “How grateful I am for your message, Fraulein.” He said. “To think that, as you say, He has washed my sins away!” His hand was thrust out to shake mine. And I, who had preached so often to the people in Bloemendaal the need to forgive, kept my hand at my side. Even as the angry, vengeful thoughts boiled through me, I saw the sin of them. Jesus Christ had died for this man; was I going to ask for more? Lord Jesus, I prayed, forgive me and help me to forgive him. I tried to smile, I struggles to raise my hand. I could not. I felt nothing, not the slightest spark of warmth or charity. And so again I breathed a silent prayer. Jesus, I prayed, I cannot forgive him. Give me Your forgiveness. As I took his hand the most incredible thing happened. From my shoulder along my arm and through my hand a current seemed to pass from me to him, while into my heart sprang a love for this stranger that almost overwhelmed me. And so I discovered that it is not on our forgiveness any more than on our goodness that the world's healing hinges, but on His. When He tells us to love our enemies, He gives, along with the command, the love itself.
Corrie ten Boom
Dear God, Thank you for this new day, its beauty and its light. Thank You for my chance to begin again. Free me from the limitations of yesterday. Today may I be reborn. May I become more fully a reflection of Your radiance. Give me strength and compassion and courage and wisdom. Show me the light in myself and others. May I recognize the good that is available everywhere.
Marianne Williamson (Illuminata: Thoughts, Prayers, Rites of Passage)
Atheists are the most honest of the human race. These people are unable to live a double life; they are unable to lie to themselves. Of course it's an evolutionary handicap, and if that handicap was widespread, our species would run the risk of extinction
Bangambiki Habyarimana (Pearls Of Eternity)
It is, I believe, the primary charm of poetry to give the lesson of mirage, that is, to show the fragile and vibrant movement of creation, in which the word is in a certain way human quintessence, prayer.
J.M.G. Le Clézio (The Mexican Dream, or The Interrupted Thought of Amerindian Civilizations)
Spring days, and summer days, and all sorts of days that would be her own. She breathed a quick prayer that life might be long. It was only yesterday she had thought with a shudder that life might be long.
Kate Chopin (The Story of an Hour)
But we need to pray daily for humility and honesty to see these sinful attitudes for that they really are, and then for grace and discipline to root them out of our minds and replace them with thoughts pleasing to God.
Jerry Bridges (The Pursuit of Holiness)
Jesus is the perfect name! He who put away his fame! And persecuted in shame! That you will never be the same! It's because of you and I He came! Believe him or have yourself to blame! In the book of life, have your name!
Israelmore Ayivor (The Great Hand Book of Quotes)
We stand at the crossroads, each minute, each hour, each day, making choices. We choose the thoughts we allow ourselves to think, the passions we allow ourselves to feel, and the actions we allow ourselves to perform. Each choice is made in the context of whatever value system we have selected to govern our lives. In selecting that value system, we are, in a very real way, making the most important choice we will ever make. Those who believe there is one God who made all things and who governs the world by this providence will make many choices different from those who do not. Those who hold in reverence that being who gave them life and worship Him through adoration, prayer, and thanksgiving will make choices different from those who do not. Those who believe that mankind are all of a family and that the most acceptable service of God is doing good to man will make many choices different from those who do not. Those who believe in a future state in which all that is wrong here will be made right will make many choices different from those who do not. Those who subscribe to the morals of Jesus will make many choices different from those who do not. Since the foundation of all happiness is thinking rightly, and since correct action is dependent on correct opinion, we cannot be too careful in choosing the value system we allow to govern our thoughts and actions. And to know that God governs in the affairs of men, that He hears and answers prayers, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him, is, indeed, a powerful regulator of human conduct.
Benjamin Franklin (the Art of Virtue: His Formula for Successful Living)
So what do you do when you are stuck? The first thing I do when I am stuck is pray. But I’m not talking about a quick, Help me Lord, Sunday’s a comin’ prayer. When I get stuck I get up from my desk to head for my closet. Literally. If I‘m at the office I go over to a corner that I have deemed my closet away from home. I get on my knees and remind God that this was not my idea, it was His… None of this is new information to God… Then I ask God to show me if there is something He wants to say to prepare me for what He wants me to communicate to our congregation. I surrender my ideas, my outline and my topic. Then I just stay in that quiet place until God quiets my heart… Many times I will have a breakthrough thought or idea that brings clarity to my message. . . Like you, I am simply a mouthpiece. Getting stuck is one way God keeps me ever conscious of that fact.
Andy Stanley (Communicating for a Change: Seven Keys to Irresistible Communication)
How could anyone confuse truth with beauty, I thought as I looked at him. Truth came with sunken eyes, bony or scarred, decayed. Its teeth were bad, its hair grey and unkempt. While beauty was empty as a gourd, vain as a parakeet. But it had power. It smelled of musk and oranges and made you close your eyes in a prayer.
Janet Fitch (White Oleander)
Lord, he’d said. Let me be enough. That prayer had lodged in my heart like an arrow when I’d heard it and thought he asked for help in doing what had to be done. But that wasn’t what he’d meant at all—and the realization of what he had meant split my heart in two. I took his face between my hands, and wished so much that I had his own gift, the ability to say what lay in my heart, in such a way that he would know. But I hadn’t.
Diana Gabaldon (An Echo in the Bone (Outlander, #7))
Afflictions quicken us to prayer. It is a pity it should be so; but experience testifies, that a long course of ease and prosperity, without painful changes—has an unhappy tendency to make us cold and formal in our secret worship. But troubles rouse our spirits, and constrain us to call upon the Lord in good earnest—when we feel a need of that help which we only can have from his almighty arm. Afflictions are useful, and in a degree necessary, to keep alive in us—a conviction of the vanity and unsatisfying nature of the present world, and all its enjoyments; to remind us that this world is not our rest, and to call our thoughts upwards, where our true treasure is, and where our heart ought to be. When things go on much to our wish, our hearts are too prone to say, "It is good to be here!
John Newton (The Letters of John Newton)
Saint Thomas Aquinas says, wisely, that the only way to drive out a bad passion is by a stronger good passion. The same is true of thoughts as of passions. When your mind wanders, like a child, your will must bring it back, like a mother. [. . .] The will-parent must discipline the mind-child, avoiding both the opposite extremes commonly made in disciplining either children or thoughts: tyranny or permissiveness.
Peter Kreeft (Prayer For Beginners)
So you make this deal with the gods. You do these dances and they'll send rain and good crops and the whole works? And nothing bad will ever happen. Right.' Prayer had always struck me as more or less a glorified attempt at a business transaction. A rain dance even more so. I thought I might finally have offended Loyd past the point of no return, like stealing the lobster from frozen foods that time, to get myself fired. But Loyd was just thinking. After a minute he said, 'No, it's not like that. It's not making a deal, bad things can still happen, but you want to try not to cause them to happen. It has to do with keeping things in balance.' In balance.' Really, it's like the spirits have made a deal with us.' And what is the deal?' I asked. We're on our own. The spirits have been good enough to let us live here and use the utilities, and we're saying: We know how nice you're being. We appreciate the rain, we appreciate the sun, we appreciate the deer we took. Sorry if we messed up anything. You've gone to a lot of trouble, and we'll try to be good guests.' Like a note you'd send somebody after you stayed in their house?' Exactly like that. 'Thanks for letting me sleep on your couch. I took some beer out of the refrigerator, and I broke a coffee cup. Sorry, I hope it wasn't your favorite one.
Barbara Kingsolver
His fingers bent forward at the topmost joint pushing down against the tips of my nails, and his thumb rested lightly against the mole on my index finger. i thought of mosques and churches and prayer mats. Hands clasped together; one hand resting atop the other; fingers interlocked to mime a steeple. What sacred power is invested in hands? This is not to say I was having pious thoughts.
Kamila Shamsie (Salt and Saffron)
Many people have found prayer impossible because they thought they should only pray for wonderful but remote needs they actually had little or no interest in or even knowledge of. Prayer simply dies from efforts to pray about ‘good things’ that honestly do not matter to us. The way to get to meaningful prayer for those good things is to start by praying for what we are truly interested in. The circle of our interests will inevitably grow in the largeness of God’s love.” --Dallas Willard
Dallas Willard (The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life in God)
You sum up the whole of New Testament religion if you describe it as the knowledge of God as one’s holy Father. If you want to judge how well a person understands Christianity, find out how much he makes of the thought of being God’s child, and having God as his Father. If this is not the thought that prompts and controls his worship and prayers and his whole outlook on life, it means that he does not understand Christianity very well at all. For everything that Christ taught, everything that makes the New Testament new, and better than the Old, everything that is distinctively Christian as opposed to merely Jewish, is summed up in the knowledge of the Fatherhood of God. ‘Father’ is the Christian name for God. Our understanding of Christianity cannot be better than our grasp of adoption.
J.I. Packer (Knowing God)
In the midst of her tears came the thought, "When people are in danger, they ask God to save them;" and, slipping down upon her knees, she said her prayer as she had never said it before, for when human help seems gone we turn to Him as naturally as lost children cry to their father, and feel sure that he will hear and answer them.
Louisa May Alcott (Jack and Jill)
Writing, music, sculpting, painting, and prayer! These are the three things that are most closely related! Writers, musicians, sculptors, painters, and the faithful are the ones who make things out of nothing. Everybody else, they make things out of something, they have materials! But a written work can be done with nothing, it can begin in the soul! A musical piece begins with a harmony in the soul, a sculpture begins with a formless, useless piece of rock chiseled and formed and molded into the thing that was first conceived in the sculptor's heart! A painting can be carried inside the mind for a lifetime, before ever being put onto paper or canvass! And a prayer! A prayer is a thought, a remembrance, a whisper, a communion, that is from the soul going to what cannot be seen, yet it can move mountains! And so I believe that these five things are interrelated, these five kinds of people are kin.
C. JoyBell C.
At this second appearing to take the oath of the Presidential office there is less occasion for an extended address than there was at the first. Then a statement somewhat in detail of a course to be pursued seemed fitting and proper. Now, at the expiration of four years, during which public declarations have been constantly called forth on every point and phase of the great contest which still absorbs the attention and engrosses the energies of the nation, little that is new could be presented. The progress of our arms, upon which all else chiefly depends, is as well known to the public as to myself, and it is, I trust, reasonably satisfactory and encouraging to all. With high hope for the future, no prediction in regard to it is ventured. On the occasion corresponding to this four years ago all thoughts were anxiously directed to an impending civil war. All dreaded it, all sought to avert it. While the inaugural address was being delivered from this place, devoted altogether to saving the Union without war, insurgent agents were in the city seeking to destroy it without war--seeking to dissolve the Union and divide effects by negotiation. Both parties deprecated war, but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive, and the other would accept war rather than let it perish, and the war came. One-eighth of the whole population were colored slaves, not distributed generally over the Union, but localized in the southern part of it. These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that this interest was somehow the cause of the war. To strengthen, perpetuate, and extend this interest was the object for which the insurgents would rend the Union even by war, while the Government claimed no right to do more than to restrict the territorial enlargement of it. Neither party expected for the war the magnitude or the duration which it has already attained. Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with or even before the conflict itself should cease. Each looked for an easier triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding. Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God's assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men's faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes. "Woe unto the world because of offenses; for it must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh." If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said "the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether." With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.
Abraham Lincoln (Great Speeches / Abraham Lincoln: with Historical Notes by John Grafton)
The scriptures are like a written “recording” of the “voice” of the Lord—a voice we feel in our hearts more than we hear with our ears. As we study the written word of God, we learn to hear His voice in the words we read. As we return repeatedly to the holy scriptures, we gain experience and confidence in hearing and feeling His voice. Five basic principles can help us learn more effectively from our personal scripture study. 1. Pray for understanding and invite the help of the Holy Ghost. Begin scripture study with prayer. Ask for understanding as you study. Express gratitude as you conclude. 2. Work. Pay the price of regular and diligent study. 3. Be consistent. Set aside a specific and scheduled time each day. 4. Ponder. Think about the truths, experiences, and lessons in the scriptures. Take time—pondering cannot be forced, hurried, or rushed. 5. Write down impressions, thoughts, and feelings. Record what you learn, think, and feel. Invite the Holy Ghost to continue instruction.
David A. Bednar
When we retire at night, we constructively review our day. Were we resentful, selfish, dishonest or afraid? Do we owe an apology? Have we kept something to ourselves which should be discussed with another person at once? Were we kind and loving toward all? What could we have done better? Were we thinking of ourselves most of the time? Or were we thinking of what we could do for others, of what we could pack into the stream of life? But we must be careful not to drift into worry, remorse or morbid reflection, for that would diminish our usefulness to others. After making our review we ask God’s forgiveness and inquire what corrective measures should be taken. On awakening let us think about the twenty-four hours ahead. We consider our plans for the day. Before we begin, we ask God to direct our thinking, especially asking that it be divorced from self-pity, dishonest or self-seeking motives. Under these conditions we can employ our mental faculties with assurance, for after all God gave us brains to use. Our thought-life will be placed on a much higher plane when our thinking is cleared of wrong motives. In thinking about our day we may face indecision. We may not be able to determine which course to take. Here we ask God for inspiration, an intuitive thought or a decision. We relax and take it easy. We don’t struggle. We are often surprised how the right answers come after we have tried this for a while. What used to be the hunch or the occasional inspiration gradually becomes a working part of the mind. Being still inexperienced and having just made conscious contact with God, it is not probable that we are going to be inspired at all times. We might pay for this presumption in all sorts of absurd actions and ideas. Nevertheless, we find that our thinking will, as time passes, be more and more on the plane of inspiration. We come to rely upon it. We usually conclude the period of meditation with a prayer that we be shown all through the day what our next step is to be, that we be given whatever we need to take care of such problems. We ask especially for freedom from self-will, and are careful to make no request for ourselves only. We may ask for ourselves, however, if others will be helped. We are careful never to pray for our own selfish ends. Many of us have wasted a lot of time doing that and it doesn’t work. You can easily see why.
Bill Wilson
To be honest, I thought it was similar to animal husbandry." Sally's tone turned dry. "Sometimes, my lady I'm afraid it isn't that different." Pippa paused, considering the ords. "Is that so?" "Men are uncomplicated, generally," Sally said, all too sage. "They're beasts when they want to be." "Brute ones!" "Ah, so you understand." Pippa tilted her head to one side. "I've read about them." Sally nodded. "Erotic texts?" "The book of Common Prayer....
Sarah MacLean (One Good Earl Deserves a Lover (The Rules of Scoundrels, #2))
I took a deep breath and recited my vulnerability prayer as I waited for my turn: Give me the courage to show up and let myself be seen. Then, seconds before I was introduced, I thought about a paperweight on my desk that reads, “What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?” I pushed that question out of my head to make room for a new question. As I walked up to the stage, I literally whispered aloud, “What’s worth doing even if I fail?
Brené Brown (Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead)
A zealous man in religion is pre-eminently a man of one thing. It is not enough to say that he is earnest, hearty, uncompromising, thorough-going, whole-hearted, fervent in spirit. He sees one thing, he cares for one thing, he lives for one thing, he is swallowed-up in one thing — and that one thing is to please God. Whether he lives — or whether he dies; whether he has health — or whether he has sickness; whether he is rich — or whether he is poor; whether he pleases man — or whether he gives offence; whether he is thought wise — or whether he is thought foolish; whether he gets blame — or whether he gets praise; whether he gets honor, or whether he gets shame — for all this the zealous man cares nothing at all. He burns for one thing — and that one thing is to please God, and to advance God's glory. If he is consumed in the very burning — he is content. He feels that, like a lamp, he is made to burn, and if consumed in burning — he has but done the work for which God appointed him. Such a one will always find a sphere for his zeal. If he cannot preach, and work, and give money — he will cry, and sigh, and pray. Yes, if he is only a pauper, on a perpetual bed of sickness — he will make the wheels of sin around him drive heavily, by continually interceding against it. If he cannot fight in the valley with Joshua — then he will do the prayer-work of Moses, Aaron, and Hur, on the hill. (Exod. 17:9-13.) If he is cut off from working himself — he will give the Lord no rest until help is raised up from another quarter, and the work is done. This is what I mean when I speak of "zeal" in religion.
J.C. Ryle
If you cannot recollect yourself continuously, do so once a day at least, in the morning or in the evening. In the morning make a resolution and in the evening examine yourself on what you have said this day, what you have done and thought, for in these things perhaps you have often offended God and those about you.
Thomas à Kempis (The Imitation of Christ)
The way I see things, God loves you the same whether you're being elegant or not. It feels much better when you are, but even when you can't fake it, God still listens to your prayers. Again and again I tell God I need help, and God says, 'Well isn't that fabulous? Because I need help too. So you go get that old woman over there some water, and I'll figure out what we're going to do about your stuff.
Anne Lamott (Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith)
I had once thought strength of character was a hardening of oneself; an intricate protection system by which you reconciled yourself to the truths of life and learned to let them not bother you. But all systems of character building go right out the window when you find there aren't anymore truths.. or none you recognize.
Jonathan Carroll (Bones of the Moon (Answered Prayers, #1))
At first she thought the writing would be easy. She was extremely confident in her ability to dream, to imagine, and she supposed that expressing her dreams in words, in writing, would be entirely natural, like drawing breath. She had read widely from the time she was a child, and she knew how to recognize something that was well written. She admired certain lines and passages so much that she had taken complete possession of them and committed them to memory. She could recite “The Gettysburg Address” and “The Twenty-Third Psalm.” She could recite “Jabberwocky” and Emily Dickinson’s “Further in summer that the birds” and Wallace Stevens’s “Sunday Morning.” She knew by heart the final paragraph of Joyce’s “The Dead,” and if challenged she could say in whole the parts of both Romeo and Juliet. And she knew many Kiowa stories and many long prayers in Navajo. These were not feats of memory in the ordinary sense; it was simply that she attended to these things so closely that they became a part of her most personal experience. She had assumed them, appropriated them to her being. But to write! She discovered that was something else again.
N. Scott Momaday (The Ancient Child)
Nothing tamed or broke her, nothing touched her, neither kindness, nor scorn, nor hatred, nor love. She had never thought of prayer. It was unimaginable that she would ever bend her knees and come crawling along a dusty floor to anybody’s altar, weeping for forgiveness. Perhaps her sin was so extreme that it could not be forgiven; perhaps her pride was so great that she did not need forgiveness. She had fallen from that high estate which God had intended for men and women, and she made her fall glorious because it was so complete.
James Baldwin (Go Tell It on the Mountain)
Don’t judge centering prayer on the basis of how many thoughts come or how much peace you enjoy. The only way to judge this prayer is by its long-range fruits: whether in daily life you enjoy greater peace, humility and charity. Having come to deep interior silence, you begin to relate to others beyond the superficial aspects of social status, race, nationality, religion, and personal characteristics. (OM, 114)
Thomas Keating (The Daily Reader for Contemplative Living)
Let them be brave, the old man thought, a prayer to no one in particular – whoever they are, my great grandchildren – let them be brave so they might look back upon this planet from a distant star one day and have forged their own, better place. Let them be brave so they might choose Compassion over Stupidity each and every time. Let their genes hum with the Insatiable Need to Know That Which They Don't Know Yet. God, let them be better than us at the very least.
Exurb1a (The Bridge to Lucy Dunne)
I used unexpectedly to experience a consciousness of the presence of God, or such a kind that I could not possibly doubt that He was within me or that I was wholly engulfed in Him. This was in no sense a vision: I believe it is called mystical theology. The soul is suspended in such a way that it seems to be completely outside itself. The will loves; the memory, I think, is almost lost; while the understanding, I believe, thought it is not lost, does not reason—I mean that it does not work, but is amazed at the extent of all it can understand; for God wills it to realize that it understands nothing of what His Majesty represents to it.
Teresa de Jesús (The Life of Saint Teresa of Ávila by Herself)
My prayers, my tears, my wishes, fears, and lamentations, were witnessed by myself and heaven alone. When we are harassed by sorrows or anxieties, or long oppressed by any powerful feelings which we must keep to ourselves, for which we can obtain and seek no sympathy from any living creature, and which yet we cannot, or will not wholly crush, we often naturally seek relief in poetry—and often find it, too—whether in the effusions of others, which seem to harmonize with our existing case, or in our own attempts to give utterance to those thoughts and feelings in strains less musical, perchance, but more appropriate, and therefore more penetrating and sympathetic, and, for the time, more soothing, or more powerful to rouse and to unburden the oppressed and swollen heart.
Anne Brontë (Agnes Grey)
People said there had to be a Supreme Being because otherwise how could the universe exist, eh? And of course there clearly had to be, said Koomi, a Supreme Being. But since the universe was a bit of a mess, it was obvious that the Supreme Being hadn't in fact made it. If he had made it he would, being Supreme, have made a better job of it, with far better thought given, taking an example at random, to things like the design of the common nostril. Or, to put it another way, the existence of a badly put-together watch proved the existence of a blind watchmaker. You only had to look around to see that there was room for improvement practically everywhere. This suggested that the Universe had probably been put together in a bit of a rush by an underling while the Supreme Being wasn't looking, in the same way that Boy Scouts' Association minutes are done on office photocopiers all over the country. So, reasoned Koomi, it was not a good idea to address any prayers to a Supreme Being. It would only attract his attention and might cause trouble.
Terry Pratchett (Small Gods (Discworld, #13))
Dear God, As I rise up, I thank You for the opportunity to be on this earth. I thank You for my mind and body, I thank You for my life. Please bless my body and use it for Your purposes. May I rise up strong today, and may my body and soul radiate Your love. May all impurities be cast out of my mind, my heart, my body. May every cell of my being be filled with Your light.
Marianne Williamson (Illuminata: Thoughts, Prayers, Rites of Passage)
Oh, we can populate the dark with horrors, even we who think ourselves informed and sure, believing nothing we cannot measure or weigh. I knew beyond all doubt that the dark things crowding in on me either did not exist or were not dangerous to me, and still I was afraid. I thought how terrible the nights must have been in a time when men knew the things were there and were deadly. But no, that's wrong. If I knew they were there, I would have weapons against them, charms, prayers, some kind of alliance with forces equally strong but on my side. Knowing they were not there made me defenseless against them and perhaps more afraid.
John Steinbeck (Travels with Charley: In Search of America)
We believe in the wrong things. That's what frustrates me the most. Not the lack of belief, but the belief in the wrong things. You want meaning? Well, the meanings are out there. We're just so damn good at reading them wrong. I don't think meaning is something that can be explained. You have to understand it on your own. It's like when you're starting to read. First, you learn the letters. Then, once you know what sounds the letters make, you use them to sound out words. You know that c-a-t leads to cat and d-o-g leads to dog. But then you have to make that extra leap, to understand that the word, the sound, the "cat" is connected to an actual cat , and that "dog" is connected to an actual dog. It's that leap, that understanding, that leads to meaning. And a lot of the time in life, we're still just sounding things out. We know the sentences and how to say them. We know the ideas and how to present them. We know the prayers and which words to say in what order. But that's only spelling" It's much harder to lie to someone's face. But. It is also much harder to tell the truth to someone's face. The indefatigable pursuit of an unattainable perfection, even though it consist in nothing more than in the pounding of an old piano, is what alone gives a meaning to our life on this unavailing star. (Logan Pearsall Smith) Being alone has nothing to do with how many people are around. (J.R. Moehringer) You could be standing a few feet away...I could have sat next to you on the subway, or brushed beside you as we went through the turnstiles. But whether or not you are here, you are here- because these words are for you, and they wouldn't exist is you weren't here in some way. At last I had it--the Christmas present I'd wanted all along, but hadn't realized. His words. The dream was obviously a sign: he was too enticing to resist. Wow. You must have a lot of faith in me. Which I appreciate. Even if I'm not sure I share it. I could do this on my own, and not freak out that I had no idea what waited for me on the other side of this night. Hope and belief. I'd always wanted hope, but never believed that I could have such an adventure on my own. That I could own it. And love it. But it happened. Because I'm So uncool and so afraid. If there was a clue, that meant the mystery was still intact I fear you may have outmatched me, because not I find these words have nowhere to go. It's hard to answer a question you haven't been asked. It's hard to show that you tried unless you end up succeeding. This was not a haystack. We were people, and people had ways of finding eachother. It was one of those moments when you feel the future so much that is humbles the present. Don't worry. It's your embarrassment at not having the thought that counts. You think fairy tales are only for girls? Here's ahint- ask yourself who wrote them. I assure you, it wasn't just the women. It's the great male fantasy- all it takes is one dance to know that she's the one. All it takes is the sound of her song from the tower, or a look at her sleeping face. And right away you know--this is the girl in your head, sleeping or dancing or singing in front of you. Yes, girls want their princes, but boys want their princesses just as much. And they don't want a very long courtship. They want to know immediately. Be careful what you;re doing, because no one is ever who you want them to be. And the less you really know them, the more likely you are to confuse them with the girl or boy in your head You should never wish for wishful thinking
Rachel Cohn (Dash & Lily's Book of Dares (Dash & Lily, #1))
Imagine how differently you might approach each day by simply stating: God is good. God is good to me. God is good at being God. And today is yet another page in our great love story. Nothing that happens to you today will change that or even alter it in the slightest way. Lift your hands, heart, and soul, and receive that truth as you pray this prayer: My whole life I’ve searched for a love to satisfy the deepest longings within me to be known, treasured, and wholly accepted. When You created me, Lord, Your very first thought of me made Your heart explode with a love that set You in pursuit of me. Your love for me was so great that You, the God of the whole universe, went on a personal quest to woo me, adore me, and finally grab hold of me with the whisper, “I will never let you go.” Lord, I release my grip on all the things I was holding on to, preventing me from returning Your passionate embrace. I want nothing to hold me but You. So, with breathless wonder, I give You all my faith, all my hope, and all my love. I picture myself carrying the old, torn-out boards that inadequately propped me up and placing them in a pile. This pile contains other things I can remove from me now that my new intimacy-based identity is established. I lay down my need to understand why things happen the way they do. I lay down my fears about others walking away and taking their love with them. I lay down my desire to prove my worth. I lay down my resistance to fully trust Your thoughts, Your ways, and Your plans, Lord. I lay down being so self-consumed in an attempt to protect myself. I lay down my anger, unforgiveness, and stubborn ways that beg me to build walls when I sense hints of rejection. I lay all these things down with my broken boards and ask that Your holy fire consume them until they become weightless ashes. And as I walk away, my soul feels safe. Held. And truly free to finally be me.
Lysa TerKeurst (Uninvited: Living Loved When You Feel Less Than, Left Out, and Lonely)
A deep love resides inside each of us. This love is independent of the desires, thoughts, and opinions, good or bad, which are readily offered to us. It is a love that is gentle and kind, accepting and nonjudgmental, playful and spontaneous, courageous and curious. It is always encouraging and always evolving. This love can be discovered only through turning off the noise around us, coming to ourselves in silence, meditation, and prayer. If we listen carefully we will hear the murmurs of our inner voice tell yearnings of our truest selves. What is available to us is a profound understanding, appreciation, and full acceptance of self, all of the good and all of the bad. Only when we truly know that we are able to tap into this part of ourselves can we begin to love others fully. Love for others is the manifestation of love for self. We cannot love another more than we love ourselves. Life is a mirror. If you want to know what love for yourself looks like, look at your love for others. If you want to know what your love for others look like, look at your love for self. When you love yourself this way, you love God this way. This relationship is the divine love triangle; self, God, and others in any order.
Marlon Hartley Lindsay
It doesn't matter what the manifest problem was in our childhood family. In a home where a child is emotionally deprived for one reason or another that child will take some personal emotional confusion into his or her adult life. We may spin our spiritual wheels in trying to make up for childhood's personal losses, looking for compensation in the wrong places and despairing that we can find it. But the significance of spiritual rebirth through Jesus Christ is that we can mature spiritually under His parenting and receive healing compensation for these childhood deprivations. Three emotions that often grow all out of proportion in the emotionally deprived child are fear, guilt, and anger. The fear grows out of the child's awareness of the uncontrollable nature of her fearful environment, of overwhelming negative forces around her. Her guilt, her profound feelings of inadequacy, intensify when she is unable to put right what is wrong, either in the environment or in another person, no matter how hard she tries to be good. If only she could try harder or be better, she could correct what is wrong, she thinks. She may carry this guilt all her life, not knowing where it comes from, but just always feeling guilty. She often feels too sorry for something she has done that was really not all that serious. Her anger comes from her frustration, perceived deprivation, and the resultant self-pity. She has picked up an anger habit and doesn't know how much trouble it is causing her. A fourth problem often follows in the wake of the big three: the need to control others and manipulate events in order to feel secure in her own world, to hold her world together- to make happen what she wants to happen. She thinks she has to run everything. She may enter adulthood with an illusion of power and a sense of authority to put other people right, though she has had little success with it. She thinks that all she has to do is try harder, be worthier, and then she can change, perfect, and save other people. But she is in the dark about what really needs changing."I thought I would drown in guilt and wanted to fix all the people that I had affected so negatively. But I learned that I had to focus on getting well and leave off trying to cure anyone around me." Many of those around - might indeed get better too, since we seldom see how much we are a key part of a negative relationship pattern. I have learned it is a true principle that I need to fix myself before I can begin to be truly helpful to anyone else. I used to think that if I were worthy enough and worked hard enough, and exercised enough anxiety (which is not the same thing as faith), I could change anything. My power and my control are illusions. To survive emotionally, I have to turn my life over to the care of that tender Heavenly Father who was really in charge. It is my own spiritual superficiality that makes me sick, and that only profound repentance, that real change of heart, would ultimately heal me. My Savior is much closer than I imagine and is willing to take over the direction of my life: "I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me, ye can do nothing." (John 15:5). As old foundations crumble, we feel terribly vulnerable. Humility, prayer and flexibility are the keys to passing through this corridor of healthy change while we experiment with truer ways of dealing with life. Godly knowledge, lovingly imparted, begins deep healing, gives tools to live by and new ways to understand the gospel.
M. Catherine Thomas
You must learn to call on the Lord. Don’t sit all alone or lie on the couch, shaking your head and letting your thoughts torture you. Don’t worry about how to get out of your situation or brood about your terrible life, how miserable you feel, and what a bad person you are. Instead, say, “Get a grip on yourself, you lazy bum! Fall on your knees, and raise your hands and eyes toward heaven. Read a psalm. Say the Lord’s Prayer, and tearfully tell God what you need.
Martin Luther (Faith Alone: A Daily Devotional)
[Jesus] stands between us and God, and for that very reason he stands between us and all other men and things. He is the Mediator, not only between God and man, but between man and man, between man and reality. Since the whole world was created through him and unto him (John 1:3; 1st Cor. 8:6; Heb. 1:2), he is the sole Mediator in the world... The call of Jesus teaches us that our relation to the world has been built on an illusion. All the time we thought we had enjoyed a direct relation with men and things. This is what had hindered us from faith and obedience. Now we learn that in the most intimate relationships of life, in our kinship with father and mother, bothers and sisters, in married love, and in our duty to the community, direct relationships are impossible. Since the coming of Christ, his followers have no more immediate realities of their own, not in their family relationships nor in the ties with their nation nor in the relationships formed in the process of living. Between father and son, husband and wife, the individual and the nation, stands Christ the Mediator, whether they are able to recognize him or not. We cannot establish direct contact outside ourselves except through him, through his word, and through our following of him. To think otherwise is to deceive ourselves. But since we are bound to abhor any deception which hides the truth from our sight, we must of necessity repudiate any direct relationship with the things of this world--and that for the sake of Christ. Wherever a group, be it large or small, prevents us from standing alone before Christ, wherever such a group raises a claim of immediacy it must be hated for the sake of Christ. For every immediacy, whether we realize it or not, means hatred of Christ, and this is especially true where such relationships claim the sanctions of Christian principles.,, There is no way from one person to another. However loving and sympathetic we try to be, however sound our psychology, however frank and open our behavior, we cannot penetrate the incognito of the other man, for there are no direct relationships, not even between soul and soul. Christ stands between us, and we can only get into touch with our neighbors through him. That is why intercession is the most promising way to reach our neighbors, and corporate prayer, offered in the name of Christ, the purest form of fellowship.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer (The Cost of Discipleship)
I was terrified of death by the time I was three or four, actively if not lucidly. I had frequent nightmares about snakes and scary neighbors. By the age of four or five, I was terrified by my thoughts. By the time I was five, the migraines began. I was so sensitive about myself and the world that I cried or shriveled up at the slightest hurt. People always told me, "You've got to get a thicker skin," like now they might say, jovially, "Let go and let God." Believe me, if I could, I would, and in the meantime I feel like stabbing you in the forehead. Teachers wrote on my report cards that I was too sensitive, excessively worried, as if this were an easily correctable condition, as if I were wearing too much of the violet toilet water little girls wore then.
Anne Lamott (Help Thanks Wow: The Three Essential Prayers)
She’d reached the door when Rowan knelt as well. And began to sing the ancient words—the words of mourning, as old and sacred as Terrasen itself. The same prayers she’d once sung and chanted while he’d tattooed her. Rowan’s clear, deep voice filling the room, Aelin looped her arm through Aedion’s, and let him lean on her as they walked back to the Great Hall. “Darrow called me ‘Your Majesty,’ ” she said after a minute. Aedion slid his red-rimmed eyes to her. But a spark lit them—just a bit. “Should we be worried?” Aelin’s mouth curved. “I thought the same damn thing.
Sarah J. Maas (Kingdom of Ash (Throne of Glass, #7))
I never wavered in my certainty that God did not exist. I was simply liberated by the thought that there might be a way to engage with religion without having to subscribe to its supernatural content - a way, to put it in more abstract terms, to think about Fathers without upsetting my respectful memory of my own father. I recognized that my continuing resistance to theories of an afterlife or of heavenly residents was no justification for giving up on the music, buildings, prayers, rituals, feasts, shrines, pilgrimages, communal meals and illustrated manuscripts of the faiths.
Alain de Botton (Religion for Atheists: A Non-Believer's Guide to the Uses of Religion)
Pray each morning and each night. Talk to God and be polite. Tell Him what you're grateful for. Leave your troubles at His door. Share your wishes, needs, and hopes. Ask God how to bravely cope. Tell Him all you learned today. Say the things you need to say. Beg forgiveness for your sins. Pray to live with Him again. Speak with earnest heart and soul. He will listen. This I know. For prayer is hope put to the test. And hope is faith in what is best. Faith is power to do great things. Thus, prayer is faith's enabling wings.
Richelle E. Goodrich (Making Wishes: Quotes, Thoughts, & a Little Poetry for Every Day of the Year)
If what it takes for you this year to be present in this sacred, thin place, to feel the breath and presence of a Holy God, is to forgo the cookies and the cards and the rushing and the lists, then we’ll be all right with cookies from the store and a few less gifts. It would be a great loss for you to miss this season, the soul of it, because you’re too busy pushing and rushing. And it would be a great loss if the people in your life receive your perfectly wrapped gifts, but not your love or your full attention or your spirit. This is my prayer for us, that we would give and receive the most important gifts this season—the palpable presence of a Holy God, the kindness of well-chosen words, the generosity of spirit and soul. My prayer is that what you’ve lost, and what I’ve lost this year, will fade a little bit in the beauty of this season, that for a few moments at least, what is right and good and worth believing will outshine all the darkness, within us and around us. And I hope that someone who loves you gives you a really cute scarf. Merry Christmas.
Shauna Niequist (Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way)
Aeneas' mother is a star?" "No; a goddess." I said cautiously, "Venus is the power that we invoke in spring, in the garden, when things begin growing. And we call the evening star Venus." He thought it over. Perhaps having grown up in the country, among pagans like me, helped him understand my bewilderment. "So do we, he said. "But Venus also became more...With the help of the Greeks. They call her Aphrodite...There was a great poet who praised her in Latin. Delight of men and gods, he called her, dear nurturer. Under the sliding star signs she fills the ship-laden sea and the fruitful earth with her being; through her the generations are conceived and rise up to see the sun; from her the storm clouds flee; to her the earth, the skillful maker, offers flowers. The wide levels of the sea smile at her, and all the quiet sky shines and streams with light..." It was the Venus I had prayed to, it was my prayer, though I had no such words. They filled my eyes with tears and my heart with inexpressible joy.
Ursula K. Le Guin (Lavinia)
You have to plan and cultivate good health. You have to commit to good health. You have to live good health because it comes from the inside out. It comes from what you bring to your life: positive, empowering thoughts, prayers and affirmations, uplifting company, and high-quality, life-giving foods. To have excellent health you must invest time and energy into the transformation of your Sacred Body Temple. And once you’ve acquired excellent health, you must maintain it vigilantly. That’s the true divine challenge—one that you can and must meet.
Queen Afua (Sacred Woman: A Guide to Healing the Feminine Body, Mind, and Spirit)
I have sometimes thought that the mere hearing of those songs would do more to impress some minds with the horrible character of slavery, than the reading of whole volumes of philosophy on the subject could do. I did not, when a slave, understand the deep meaning of those rude and apparently incoherent songs. I was myself within the circle; so that I neither saw nor heard as those without might see and hear. They told a tale of woe which was then altogether beyond my feeble comprehension; they were tones loud, long, and deep; they breathed the prayer and complaint of souls boiling over with bitterest anguish. Every tone was a testimony against slavery, and a prayer to God for deliverance from chains. The hearing of those wild notes always depressed my spirit, and filled me with ineffable sadness. I have frequently found myself in tears while hearing them. The mere recurrence to those songs, even now, afflicts me; and while I am writing these lines, an expression of feeling has already found its way down my cheek. To those songs I trace my first glimmering conception of the dehumanizing character of slavery. I can never get rid of that conception. Those songs still follow me, to deepen my hatred of slavery, and quicken my sympathies for my brethren in bonds. If any one wishes to be impressed with the soul-killing effects of slavery, let him go to Colonel Lloyd's plantation, and, on allowance-day, place himself in the deep pine woods, and there let him, in silence, analyze the sounds that shall pass through the chambers of his soul, - and if he is not thus impressed, it will only be because "there is no flesh in his obdurate heart." I have often been utterly astonished, since I came to the north, to find persons who could speak of the singing, among slaves, as evidence of their contentment and happiness. It is impossible to conceive of a greater mistake. Slaves sing most when they are most unhappy. The songs of the slave represent the sorrows of his heart; and he is relieved by them, only as an aching heart is relieved by its tears. At least, such is my experience. I have often sung to drown my sorrow, but seldom to express my happiness. Crying for joy, and singing for joy, were alike uncommon to me while in the jaws of slavery. The singing of a man cast away upon a desolate island might be as appropriately considered as evidence of contentment and happiness, as the singing of a slave; the songs of the one and of the other are prompted by the same emotion.
Frederick Douglass (Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass)
- The Azan story - The five daily ritual prayers were regularly performed in congregation, and when the time for each prayer came the people would assemble at the site where the Mosque was being built. Everyone judged of the time by the position of the sun in the sky, or by the first signs of its light on the eastern horizon or by the dimming of its glow in the west after sunset; but opinions could differ, and the Prophet felt the need for a means of summoning the people to prayer when the right time had come. At first he thought of appointing a man to blow a horn like that of the Jews, but later he decided on a wooden clapper, ndqiis, such as the Oriental Christians used at that time, and two pieces of wood were fashioned together for that purpose. But they were never destined to be used; for one night a man of Khazraj, 'Abd Allah ibn Zayd, who had been at the Second 'Aqabah, had a dream whieh the next day he recounted to the Prophet: "There passed by me a man wearing two green garments and he carried in his hand a ndqiis, so I said unto him: "0 slave of God, wilt thou sell me that naqusi" "What wilt thou do with it?" he said. "We will summon the people to prayer with it," I answered. "Shall I not show thee a better way?" he said. "What way is that?" I asked, and he answered: "That thou shouldst say: God is most Great, Alldhu Akbar." The man in green repeated this magnification four times, then each of the following twice: I testify that there is no god but God; I testify that Muhammad is the messenger of God; come unto the prayer; come unto salvation; God is most Great; and then once again there is no god but God. The Prophet said that this was a true vision, and he told him to go to Bilal, who had an excellent voice, and teach him the words exactly as he had heard them in his sleep. The highest house in the neighbourhood of the Mosque belonged to a woman of the clan of Najjar, and Bilal would come there before every dawn and would sit on the roof waiting for the daybreak. When he saw the first faint light in the east he would stretch out his arms and say in supplication: "0 God I praise Thee, and I ask Thy Help for Quraysh, that they may accept Thy religion." Then he would stand and utter the call to prayer.
Martin Lings (Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources)
These are the three stages of enlightenment, the three glimpses of satori. 1. The first stage enlightenment: A Glimpse of the Whole The first stage of enlightenment is short glimpse from faraway of the whole. It is a short glimpse of being. The first stage of enlightenment is when, for the first time, for a single moment the mind is not functioning. The ordinary ego is still present at the first stage of enlightenment, but you experience for a short while that there is something beyond the ego. There is a gap, a silence and emptiness, where there is not thought between you and existence. You and existence meet and merge for a moment. And for the first time the seed, the thirst and longing, for enlightenment, the meeting between you and existence, will grow in your heart. 2. The second stage of enlightenment: Silence, Relaxation, Togetherness, Inner Being The second stage of enlightenment is a new order, a harmony, from within, which comes from the inner being. It is the quality of freedom. The inner chaos has disappeared and a new silence, relaxation and togetherness has arisen. Your own wisdom from within has arisen. A subtle ego is still present in the second stage of enlightenment. The Hindus has three names for the ego: 1. Ahamkar, which is the ordinary ego. 2. Asmita, which is the quality of Am-ness, of no ego. It is a very silent ego, not aggreessive, but it is still a subtle ego. 3. Atma, the third word is Atma, when the Am-ness is also lost. This is what Buddha callas no-self, pure being. In the second stage of enlightenment you become capable of being in the inner being, in the gap, in the meditative quality within, in the silence and emptiness. For hours, for days, you can remain in the gap, in utter aloneness, in God. Still you need effort to remain in the gap, and if you drop the effort, the gap will disappear. Love, meditation and prayer becomes the way to increase the effort in the search for God. Then the second stage becomes a more conscious effort. Now you know the way, you now the direction. 3. The third stage of enlightenment: Ocean, Wholeness, No-self, Pure being At the third stage of enlightenment, at the third step of Satori, our individual river flowing silently, suddenly reaches to the Ocean and becomes one with the Ocean. At the third Satori, the ego is lost, and there is Atma, pure being. You are, but without any boundaries. The river has become the Ocean, the Whole. It has become a vast emptiness, just like the pure sky. The third stage of enlightenment happens when you have become capable of finding the inner being, the meditative quality within, the gap, the inner silence and emptiness, so that it becomes a natural quality. You can find the gap whenever you want. This is what tantra callas Mahamudra, the great orgasm, what Buddha calls Nirvana, what Lao Tzu calls Tao and what Jesus calls the kingdom of God. You have found the door to God. You have come home.
Swami Dhyan Giten
He turned his head. They were sitting close together, their shoulders nearly touching. Her eyes were so brown they were almost black, and for once her hair was down. She always wore it tied back in a ruthlessly tight coil. Even the idea of being this near someone should have set his skin crawling. Instead he thought, What happens if I move closer? “I don’t want your prayers,” he said. “What do you want, then?” The old answers came easily to mind. Money. Vengeance. Jordie’s voice in my head silenced forever. But a different reply roared to life inside him, loud, insistent, and unwelcome. You, Inej. You. He
Leigh Bardugo (Six of Crows (Six of Crows, #1))
We are not our own any more than what we possess is our own. We did not make ourselves, we cannot be supreme over ourselves. We are not our own masters. We are God's property. Is it not our happiness thus to view the matter? Is it any happiness or any comfort, to consider that we are our own? It may be thought so by the young and prosperous. These may think it a great thing to have everything, as they suppose, their own way–to depend on no one–to have to think of nothing out of sight, to be without the irksomeness of continual acknowledgment, continual prayer, continual reference of what they do to the will of another. But as time goes on, they, as all men, will find that independence was not made for man–that it is an unnatural state–will do for a while, but will not carry us on safely to the end …'" Mustapha Mond paused, put down the first book and, picking up the other, turned over the pages. "Take this, for example," he said, and in his deep voice once more began to read: "'A man grows old; he feels in himself that radical sense of weakness, of listlessness, of discomfort, which accompanies the advance of age; and, feeling thus, imagines himself merely sick, lulling his fears with the notion that this distressing condition is due to some particular cause, from which, as from an illness, he hopes to recover. Vain imaginings! That sickness is old age; and a horrible disease it is. They say that it is the fear of death and of what comes after death that makes men turn to religion as they advance in years. But my own experience has given me the conviction that, quite apart from any such terrors or imaginings, the religious sentiment tends to develop as we grow older; to develop because, as the passions grow calm, as the fancy and sensibilities are less excited and less excitable, our reason becomes less troubled in its working, less obscured by the images, desires and distractions, in which it used to be absorbed; whereupon God emerges as from behind a cloud; our soul feels, sees, turns towards the source of all light; turns naturally and inevitably; for now that all that gave to the world of sensations its life and charms has begun to leak away from us, now that phenomenal existence is no more bolstered up by impressions from within or from without, we feel the need to lean on something that abides, something that will never play us false–a reality, an absolute and everlasting truth. Yes, we inevitably turn to God; for this religious sentiment is of its nature so pure, so delightful to the soul that experiences it, that it makes up to us for all our other losses.'" Mustapha Mond shut the book and leaned back in his chair. "One of the numerous things in heaven and earth that these philosophers didn't dream about was this" (he waved his hand), "us, the modern world. 'You can only be independent of God while you've got youth and prosperity; independence won't take you safely to the end.' Well, we've now got youth and prosperity right up to the end. What follows? Evidently, that we can be independent of God. 'The religious sentiment will compensate us for all our losses.' But there aren't any losses for us to compensate; religious sentiment is superfluous. And why should we go hunting for a substitute for youthful desires, when youthful desires never fail? A substitute for distractions, when we go on enjoying all the old fooleries to the very last? What need have we of repose when our minds and bodies continue to delight in activity? of consolation, when we have soma? of something immovable, when there is the social order?
Aldous Huxley (Brave New World)
It destroyed some cavern of your reverence to watch Augustine punch the Prince Undying on the arm, and to watch the Prince Undying gamely cuff him back. Part of your brain temporarily calcified into atheism. You had not thought it would be like this. From the day the letter arrived in Drearburh, you’d thought that your Lyctoral days would be spent in prayer, training, and the beauty of necromantic mysteries. You did not think any part of it would be spent honestly quite drunk, wearing a piece of material no larger than a towel, and with Ianthe Tridentarius’s fingers idly caressing the hair at the nape of your neck. For a moment, you wondered wildly if you had hit your head quite hard entering the shuttle out of Drearburh, and had hallucinated everything subsequent.
Tamsyn Muir (Harrow the Ninth (The Locked Tomb, #2))
In this process of unlearning, in the process of feeling and hearing the plants again, one comes to realize many things. And of these things, perhaps stronger than the others, one feels the pain of the Earth. It is not possible to escape it. One of the most powerful experiences I had of this was the year when I traveled to the Florida panhandle. One day Trishuwa and I decided to go out and make relationship with the plants and offer prayer to them. The place we chose appeared quite lush, with huge trees and thick undergrowth. But as we sat there, a strong anger came from the land and the trees. They had little use for us and told us so in strong language. We spoke with them for a long time and did not cower away from their rage and eventually, as we received their pain and anger, they calmed down a little. They told us that we could do our ceremonies if we wished and that they appreciated the thought but that it would do no good. It was too late for that place, it could not be helped, the land would take its revenge for the damage done to it and nothing would stop it. I wondered then how everyone who lived in the area could just go on with their daily lives when this communication from all the local living things was crying out so loudly. I wondered if anyone else felt this rage and anger.
Stephen Harrod Buhner (Sacred Plant Medicine: The Wisdom in Native American Herbalism)
IT HAS TO DO WITH ALL OF US,” said Owen Meany, when I called him that night. “SHE WAS JUST LIKE OUR WHOLE COUNTRY—NOT QUITE YOUNG ANYMORE, NOT BUT OLD EITHER; A LITTLE BREATHLESS, VERY BEAUTIFUL, MAYBE A LITTLE STUPID, MAYBE A LOT SMARTER THAN SHE SEEMED. AND SHE WAS LOOKING FOR SOMETHING—I THINK SHE WANTED TO BE GOOD. LOOK AT THE MEN IN HER LIFE—JOE DIMAGGIO, ARTHUR MILLER, MAYBE THE KENNEDYS. LOOK AT HOW GOOD THEY SEEM! LOOK AT HOW DESIRABLE SHE WAS! THAT’S WHAT SHE WAS: SHE WAS DESIRABLE. SHE WAS FUNNY AND SEXY—AND SHE WAS VULNERABLE, TOO. SHE WAS NEVER QUITE HAPPY, SHE WAS ALWAYS A LITTLE OVERWEIGHT. SHE WAS JUST LIKE OUR WHOLE COUNTRY,” he repeated; he was on a roll. I could hear Hester playing her guitar in the background, as if she were trying to improvise a folk song from everything she said. “AND THOSE MEN,” he said. “THOSE FAMOUS, POWERFUL MEN—DID THEY REALLY LOVE HER? AND DID THEY TAKE CARE OF HER? IF SHE WAS EVER WITH THE KENNEDYS, THEY COULDN’T HAVE LOVED HER—THEY WERE JUST USING HER, THEY WERE JUST BEING CARELESS AND TREATING THEMSELVES TO A THRILL. THAT’S WHAT POWERFUL MEN DO TO THIS COUNTRY—IT’S A BEAUITFUL, SEXY, BREATHLESS COUNTRY, AND POWERFUL MEN USE IT TO TREAT THEMSELVES TO A THRILL! THEY SAY THEY LOVE IT BUT THEY DON’T MEAN IT. THEY SAY THINGS TO MAKE THEMSELVES APPEAR GOOD—THEY MAKE THEMSELVES APPEAR MORAL. THAT”S WHAT I THOUGHT KENNEDY WAS: A MORALIST. BUT HE WAS JUST GIVING US A SNOW JOB, HE WAS JUST BEING A GOOD SEDUCER. I THOUGHT HE WAS A SAVIOR. I THOUGHT HE WANTED TO USE HIS POWER TO DO GOOD. BUT PEOPLE WILL SAY AND DO ANYTHING JUST TO GET THE POWER; THEN THEY’LL USE THE POWER JUST TO GET A THRILL. MARILYN MONROE WAS ALWAYS LOOKING FOR THE BEST MAN—MAYBE SHE WANTED THE MAN WITH THE MOST INTEGRITY, MAYBE SHE WANTED THE MAN WITH THE MOST ABILITY TO DO GOOD. AND SHE WAS SEDUCED, OVER AND OVER AGAIN—SHE GOT FOOLED, SHE WAS TRICKED, SHE GOT USED, SHE WAS USED UP. JUST LIKE THE COUNTRY. THE COUNTRY WANTS A SAVIOR. THE COUNTRY IS A SUCKER FOR POWERFUL MEN WHO LOOK GOOD. WE THINK THEY’RE MORALISTS AND THEN THEY JUST USE US. THAT'S WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN TO YOU AND ME,” said Owen Meany. “WE’RE GOING TO BE USED.
John Irving (A Prayer for Owen Meany)
Tatiana fretted over him before he left as if he were a five-year-old on his first day of school. Shura, don't forget to wear your helmet wherever you go, even if it's just down the trail to the river. Don't forget to bring extra magazines. Look at this combat vest. You can fit more than five hundred rounds. It's unbelievable. Load yourself up with ammo. Bring a few extra cartridges. You don't want to run out. Don't forget to clean your M-16 every day. You don't want your rifle to jam." Tatia, this is the third generation of the M-16. It doesn't jam anymore. The gunpowder doesn't burn as much. The rifle is self-cleaning." When you attach the rocket bandolier, don't tighten it too close to your belt, the friction from bending will chafe you, and then irritation follows, and then infection... ...Bring at least two warning flares for the helicopters. Maybe a smoke bomb, too?" Gee, I hadn't thought of that." Bring your Colt - that's your lucky weapon - bring it, as well as the standard -issue Ruger. Oh, and I have personally organized your medical supplies: lots of bandages, four complete emergency kits, two QuickClots - no I decided three. They're light. I got Helena at PMH to write a prescription for morphine, for penicillin, for -" Alexander put his hand over her mouth. "Tania," he said, "do you want to just go yourself?" When he took the hand away, she said, "Yes." He kissed her. She said, "Spam. Three cans. And keep your canteen always filled with water, in case you can't get to the plasma. It'll help." Yes, Tania" And this cross, right around your neck. Do you remember the prayer of the heart?" Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner." Good. And the wedding band. Right around your finger. Do you remember the wedding prayer?" Gloria in Excelsis, please just a little more." Very good. Never take off the steel helmet, ever. Promise?" You said that already. But yes, Tania." Do you remember what the most important thing is?" To always wear a condom." She smacked his chest. To stop the bleeding," he said, hugging her. Yes. To stop the bleeding. Everything else they can fix." Yes, Tania.
Paullina Simons (The Summer Garden (The Bronze Horseman, #3))
Every poet knows that the gift of the gods is not fire but language. “Man dwells poetically on this earth,” Hölderin wrote. Language is the essence of being human. We can think, thanks to language, for thought exists only by the grace of words. Our experiences and emotions are molded by language. It is language that allows us to name and know the world. We ourselves are known by language, through prayer, confession, poetry. Language gives us a world that reaches beyond the reality of the moment, to a past (there was…) and a future (there shall be…). It is through language that eternity has a space and that the dead continue to speak: “Defunctus adhuc loquitur” (Hebrews 11:4). Thanks to language, there is meaning, there is truth.
Rob Riemen (Nobility of Spirit: A Forgotten Ideal)
Six people went into the house of a sick man to pray for him. He was an Episcopalian vicar, and lay in his bed utterly helpless, without even strength to help himself. He had read a little tract about healing and had heard about people praying for the sick, and sent for these friends, who, he thought, could pray the prayer of faith. He was anointed according to James 5:14, but, because he had no immediate manifestation of healing, he wept bitterly. The six people walked out of the room, somewhat crestfallen to see the man lying there in an unchanged condition. When they were outside, one of the six said, “There is one thing we might have done. I wish you would all go back with me and try it.” They went back and all got together in a group. This brother said, “Let us whisper the name of Jesus.” At first when they whispered this worthy name nothing seemed to happen. But as they continued to whisper, “Jesus! Jesus! Jesus!” the power began to fall. As they saw that God was beginning to work, their faith and joy increased; and they whispered the name louder and louder. As they did so the man arose from his bed and dressed himself. The secret was just thus, those six people had gotten their eyes off the sick man, and they were just taken up with the Lord Jesus Himself, and their faith grasped the power that there is in His name. O, if people would only appreciate the power that there is in this name, there is no telling what would happen.
Smith Wigglesworth (The Teachings of Smith Wigglesworth)
The secret of seeing is, then the pearl of great price. If I thought he could teach me to find it and keep it forever I would stagger barefoot across a hundred deserts after any lunatic at all. But although the pearl may be found, it may not be sought. The literature of illumination reveals this above all: although it comes to those who wait for it, it is always, even to the most practiced and adept, a gift and a total surprise. I return from one walk knowing where the killdeer nests in the field by the creek and the hour the laurel blooms. I return form the same walk a day later scarcely knowing my own name. Litanies hum in my ears; my tongue flaps in my mouth. Ailinon, alleluia!
Annie Dillard (Pilgrim at Tinker Creek)
Big Ben struck the half hour. How extraordinary it was, strange, yes, touching, to see the old lady (they had been neighbors ever so many years) move away from the window, as if she were attached to that sound, that string. Gigantic as it was, it had something to do with her. Down, down, into the midst of ordinary things the finger fell making the moment solemn. She was forced, so Clarissa imagined, by that sound, to move, to go - but where? Clarissa tried to follow her as she turned and disappeared, and could still just see her white cap moving at the back of the bedroom. She was still there moving about at the other end of the room. Why creeds and prayers and mackintoshes? when, thought Clarissa, that's the miracle, that's the mystery; that old lady, she meant, whom she could see going from chest of drawers to dressing table. She could still see her. And the supreme mystery, which Kilman might say she had solved, or Peter might say he had solved, but Clarissa didn't believe either of them had the ghost of an idea of solving, was simply this: here was one room, there another. Did religion solve that, or love?
Virginia Woolf (Mrs. Dalloway)
A dying man asked a dying man for eternal life; a man without possessions asked a poor man for a Kingdom; a thief at the door of death asked to die like a thief and steal Paradise. One would have thought a saint would have been the first soul purchased over the counter of Calvary by the red coins of Redemption, but in the Divine plan it was a thief who was the escort of the King of kings into Paradise. If Our Lord had come merely as a teacher, the thief would never have asked for forgiveness. But since the thief's request touched the reason of His coming to earth, namely, to save souls, the thief heard the immediate answer: 'I promise thee, this day thou shalt be With Me in Paradise' (Luke 23:43) It was the thief's last prayer, perhaps even his first. He knocked once, sought once, asked once, dared everything, and found everything. When even the disciples were doubting and only one was present at the Cross, the thief owned and acknowledged Him as Saviour.
Fulton J. Sheen (Life of Christ)
If thou dost continually draw thine impulse, thy life, the whole of thy being from the Holy Spirit, without whom thou canst do nothing; and if thou dost live in close communion with Christ, there will be no fear of thy having a dry heart. He who lives without prayer—he who lives with little prayer—he who seldom reads the Word—he who seldom looks up to heaven for a fresh influence from on high—he will be the man whose heart will become dry and barren; but he who calls in secret on his God—who spends much time in holy retirement—who delights to meditate on the words of the Most High—whose soul is given up to Christ—who delights in his fullness, rejoices in his all-sufficiency, prays for his second coming, and delights in the thought of his glorious advent—such a man, I say, must have an overflowing heart; and as his heart is, such will his life be. It will be a full life; it will be a life that will speak from the sepulcher, and wake the echoes of the future. "Keep thine heart with all diligence," and entreat the Holy Spirit to keep it full; for, otherwise, the issues of thy life will be feeble, shallow, and superficial; and thou mayest as well not have lived at all.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon
People are by nature illiterate and innumerate, quantifying the world by “one, two, many” and by rough guesstimates.21 They understand physical things as having hidden essences that obey the laws of sympathetic magic or voodoo rather than physics and biology: objects can reach across time and space to affect things that resemble them or that had been in contact with them in the past (remember the beliefs of pre–Scientific Revolution Englishmen).22 They think that words and thoughts can impinge on the physical world in prayers and curses. They underestimate the prevalence of coincidence.23 They generalize from paltry samples, namely their own experience, and they reason by stereotype, projecting the typical traits of a group onto any individual that belongs to it. They infer causation from correlation. They think holistically, in black and white, and physically, treating abstract networks as concrete stuff. They are not so much intuitive scientists as intuitive lawyers and politicians, marshaling evidence that confirms their convictions while dismissing evidence that contradicts them.24 They overestimate their own knowledge, understanding, rectitude, competence, and luck.25
Steven Pinker (Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress)
Discouragement, fear, and depression— three villains who lurk in the dark. They slip inside souls with a blindfold and goals to shatter your dreams and extinguish your spark. Their tactics are highly effective. They crush a great many each day. And under their spell it is easy to dwell On fiascoes and failures that end in dismay. The heart and the mind are left heavy. The last speck of will is erased. And nothing stays on when these villains are gone but a mouthful of bile with the bitterest taste. Alas! You must conquer the scoundrels! Elude, dodge, and keep them at bay! To feel fear slink in, boring under your skin, is a sign that his brothers are well on their way. So reach for your weapons against them! Take hope and hard work in each hand! Strap faith on your hips and a prayer on your lips and show those debasers how firmly you stand! Discouragement, fear and depression— the truth should be known of these cads. They’re empty and weak; it is your strength they seek. Deny them and life is your wish in the bag.
Richelle E. Goodrich (Making Wishes: Quotes, Thoughts, & a Little Poetry for Every Day of the Year)
He was almost a poet in his old age and his notion of what happened took a poetic turn. 'I had come to the time in my life when prayer became necessary and so I invented gods and prayed to them,' he said. 'I did not say my prayers in words nor did I kneel down but sat perfectly still in my chair. In the late afternoon when it was hot and quiet on Main Street or in the winter when the days were gloomy, the gods came into the office and I thought no one knew about them. Then I found that this woman Elizabeth knew, that she worshipped also the same gods. I have a notion that she came to the office because she thought the gods would be there but she was happy to find herself not alone just the same. It was an experience that cannot be explained, although I suppose it is always happening to men and women in all sorts of places.
Sherwood Anderson (Winesburg, Ohio)
Ingenious philosophers tell you, perhaps, that the great work of the steam-engine is to create leisure for mankind. Do not believe them: it only creates a vacuum for eager thought to rush in. Even idleness is eager now—eager for amusement; prone to excursion-trains, art museums, periodical literature, and exciting novels; prone even to scientific theorizing and cursory peeps through microscopes. Old Leisure was quite a different personage. He only read one newspaper, innocent of leaders, and was free from that periodicity of sensations which we call post-time. He was a contemplative, rather stout gentleman, of excellent digestion; of quiet perceptions, undiseased by hypothesis; happy in his inability to know the causes of things, preferring the things themselves. He lived chiefly in the country, among pleasant seats and homesteads, and was fond of sauntering by the fruit-tree wall and scenting the apricots when they were warmed by the morning sunshine, or of sheltering himself under the orchard boughs at noon, when the summer pears were falling. He knew nothing of weekday services, and thought none the worse of the Sunday sermon if it allowed him to sleep from the text to the blessing; liking the afternoon service best, because the prayers were the shortest, and not ashamed to say so; for he had an easy, jolly conscience, broad-backed like himself, and able to carry a great deal of beer or port-wine, not being made squeamish by doubts and qualms and lofty aspirations.
George Eliot (Adam Bede)
I suppose there may be a branch president or a high councilor or an elders quorum president or a visiting teacher in the room who wants to know what it is we are to accomplish as Church members when we get together, even if it's only in a home evening group or an opportunity to pray together. Well, this passage indicates that it may have something to do with remembering each other. We all count. Everyone matters. We have a name and it's recorded and we need to remember that here. No one must get lost. "And their names were taken, that they might be remembered and nourished by the good word of God. . . to keep them continually watchful unto prayer, relying alone upon the merits of Christ . . . to fast and to speak with one another concerning the welfare of their souls . . . to observe that there should be no iniquity among them"--what a great thought about meetings and what they are supposed to do, what a Sunday School class can be, what a scriptural discussion in an apartment can be.
Jeffrey R. Holland
Keep his mind on the inner life. He thinks his conversion is something inside him, and his attention is therefore chiefly turned at present to the state of his own mind--or rather to that very expurgated version of them which is all you should allow him to see. Encourage this. Keep his mind off the most elementary duties of directing it to the most advanced and spiritual ones. Aggravate the most useful human characteristics, the horror and neglect of the obvious. You must bring him to a condition in which he can practise self-examination for an hour without discovering any of those facts about himself which are perfectly clear to anyone who has ever lived in the same house with him or worked in the same office. 2. It is, no doubt, impossible to prevent his praying for his mother, but we have means of rendering the prayers innocuous. Make sure that they are always very 'spiritual', that is is always concerned with the state of her soul and never with her rhuematism. Two advantages will follow. In the first place, his attention will be kept on what he regards are her sins, by which, with a little guidance from you, he can be induced to mean any of her actions which are inconvenient or irritating to himself. Thus you can keep rubbing the wounds of the day a little sorer even while he is on his knees; the operation is not at all difficult and you will find it very entertaining. In the second place, since his ideas about her soul will be very crude and often erroneous, he will, in some degree, be praying for an imaginary person, and it will be your task to make that imaginary person daily less and less like the real mother--the sharp-tongued old lady at the breakfast table. In time you may get the cleavage so wide that no thought or feeling from his prayers for the imagined mother will ever flow over into his treatment of the real one. I have had patients of my own so well in hand that they could be turned at a moment's notice from impassioned prayer for a wife's or son's soul to beating or insulting the real wife or son without any qualm. 3. When two humans have lived together for many years it usually happens that each has tones of voice and expressions of face whice are almost unedurably irritating to the other. Work on that. Bring fully into the consciousness of your patient that particular lift of his mother's eyebrows which he learned to dislike in the nursery, and let him think how much he dislikes it. Let him assume that she knows how annoying it is and does it to annoy--if you know your job he will not notice the immense improbablity of the assumption. And, of course, never let him suspect that he has tones and looks which similarly annoy her. As he cannot see or hear himself, this is easily managed.
C.S. Lewis (The Screwtape Letters)
During the youthful period of mankind's spiritual evolution human fantasy created gods in man's own image, who, by the operations of their will were supposed to determine, or at any rate to influence, the phenomenal world. Man sought to alter the disposition of these gods in his own favor by means of magic and prayer. The idea of God in the religions taught at present is a sublimation of that old concept of the gods. Its anthropomorphic character is shown, for instance, by the fact that men appeal to the Divine Being in prayers and plead for the fulfillment of their wishes. Nobody, certainly, will deny that the idea of the existence of an omnipotent, just, and omnibeneficent personal God is able to accord man solace, help, and guidance; also, by virtue of its simplicity it is accessible to the most undeveloped mind. But, on the other hand, there are decisive weaknesses attached to this idea in itself, which have been painfully felt since the beginning of history. That is, if this being is omnipotent, then every occurrence, including every human action, every human thought, and every human feeling and aspiration is also His work; how is it possible to think of holding men responsible for their deeds and thoughts before such an almighty Being? In giving out punishment and rewards He would to a certain extent be passing judgment on Himself. How can this be combined with the goodness and righteousness ascribed to Him? (Albert Einstein, Science, Philosophy, and Religion, A 1934 Symposium published by the Conference on Science, Philosophy and Religion in Their Relation to the Democratic Way of Life, Inc., New York, 1941; from Einstein's Out of My Later Years, Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1970, pp. 26-27.)
Albert Einstein
I smack into him as if shoved from behind. He doesn't budge, not an inch. Just holds my shoulders and waits. Maybe he's waiting for me to find my balance. Maybe he's waiting for me to gather my pride. I hope he's got all day. I hear people passing on the boardwalk and imagine them staring. Best-case scenario, they think I know this guy, that we're hugging. Worst-case scenario, they saw me totter like an intoxicated walrus into this complete stranger because I was looking down for a place to park our beach stuff. Either way, he knows what happened. He knows why my cheek is plastered to his bare chest. And there is definite humiliation waiting when I get around to looking up at him. Options skim through my head like a flip book. Option One: Run away as fast as my dollar-store flip flops can take me. Thing is, tripping over them is partly responsible for my current dilemma. In fact, one of them is missing, probably caught in a crack of the boardwalk. I'm getting Cinderella didn't feel this foolish, but then again, Cinderella wasn't as clumsy as an intoxicated walrus. Option two: Pretend I've fainted. Go limp and everything. Drool, even. But I know this won't work because my eyes flutter too much to fake it, and besides, people don't blush while unconscious. Option Three: Pray for a lightning bolt. A deadly one that you feel in advance because the air gets all atingle and your skin crawls-or so the science books say. It might kill us both, but really, he should have been paying more attention to me when he saw that I wasn't paying attention at all. For a shaved second, I think my prayers are answered because I go get tingly all over; goose bumps sprout everywhere, and my pulse feels like electricity. Then I realize, it's coming from my shoulders. From his hands. Option Last: For the love of God, peel my cheek off his chest and apologize for the casual assault. Then hobble away on my one flip-flop before I faint. With my luck, the lightning would only maim me, and he would feel obligated to carry me somewhere anyway. Also, do it now. I ease away from him and peer up. The fire on my cheeks has nothing to do with the fact that it's sweaty-eight degrees in the Florida sun and everything to do with the fact that I just tripped into the most attractive guy on the planet. Fan-flipping-tastic. "Are-are you all right?" he says, incredulous. I think I can see the shape of my cheek indented on his chest. I nod. "I'm fine. I'm used to it. Sorry." I shrug off his hands when he doesn't let go. The tingling stays behind, as if he left some of himself on me. "Jeez, Emma, are you okay?" Chloe calls from behind. The calm fwopping of my best friend's sandals suggests she's not as concerned as she sounds. Track star that she is, she would already be at my side if she thought I was hurt. I groan and face her, not surprised that she's grinning wide as the equator. She holds out my flip-flop, which I try not to snatch from her hand. "I'm fine. Everybody's fine," I say. I turn back to the guy, who seems to get more gorgeous by the second. "You're fine, right? No broken bones or anything?" He blinks, gives a slight nod. Chloe setts her surfboard against the rail of the boardwalk and extends her hand to him. He accepts it without taking his eyes off me. "I'm Chloe and this is Emma," she says. "We usually bring her helmet with us, but we left it back in the hotel room this time.
Anna Banks (Of Poseidon (The Syrena Legacy, #1))
People had always amazed him, he began. But they amazed him more since the sickness. For as long as the two of them had been together, he said, Gary’s mother had accepted him as her son’s lover, had given them her blessing. Then, at the funeral, she’d barely acknowledged him. Later, when she drove to the house to retrieve some personal things, she’d hunted through her son’s drawers with plastic bags twist-tied around her wrists. “…And yet,” he whispered, “The janitor at school--remember him? Mr. Feeney? --he’d openly disapproved of me for nineteen years. One of the nastiest people I knew. Then when the news about me got out, after I resigned, he started showing up at the front door every Sunday with a coffee milkshake. In his church clothes, with his wife waiting out in the car. People have sent me hate mail, condoms, Xeroxed prayers…” What made him most anxious, he told me, was not the big questions--the mercilessness of fate, the possibility of heaven. He was too exhausted, he said, to wrestle with those. But he’d become impatient with the way people wasted their lives, squandered their chances like paychecks. I sat on the bed, massaging his temples, pretending that just the right rubbing might draw out the disease. In the mirror I watched us both--Mr. Pucci, frail and wasted, a talking dead man. And myself with the surgical mask over my mouth, to protect him from me. “The irony,” he said, “… is that now that I’m this blind man, it’s clearer to me than it’s ever been before. What’s the line? ‘Was blind but now I see…’” He stopped and put his lips to the plastic straw. Juice went halfway up the shaft, then back down again. He motioned the drink away. “You accused me of being a saint a while back, pal, but you were wrong. Gary and I were no different. We fought…said terrible things to each other. Spent one whole weekend not speaking to each other because of a messed up phone message… That time we separated was my idea. I thought, well, I’m fifty years old and there might be someone else out there. People waste their happiness--That’s what makes me sad. Everyone’s so scared to be happy.” “I know what you mean,” I said. His eyes opened wider. For a second he seemed to see me. “No you don’t,” he said. “You mustn’t. He keeps wanting to give you his love, a gift out and out, and you dismiss it. Shrug it off because you’re afraid.” “I’m not afraid. It’s more like…” I watched myself in the mirror above the sink. The mask was suddenly a gag. I listened. “I’ll give you what I learned from all this,” he said. “Accept what people offer. Drink their milkshakes. Take their love.
Wally Lamb (She's Come Undone)
Ms. Lane.”Barrons’ voice is deep, touched with that strange Old World accent and mildly pissed off. Jericho Barrons is often mildly pissed off. I think he crawled from the swamp that way, chafed either by some condition in it, out of it, or maybe just the general mass incompetence he encountered in both places. He’s the most controlled, capable man I’ve ever known. After all we’ve been through together, he still calls me Ms. Lane, with one exception: When I’m in his bed. Or on the floor, or some other place where I’ve temporarily lost my mind and become convinced I can’t breathe without him inside me this very instant. Then the things he calls me are varied and nobody’s business but mine. I reply: “Barrons,” without inflection. I’ve learned a few things in our time together. Distance is frequently the only intimacy he’ll tolerate. Suits me. I’ve got my own demons. Besides I don’t believe good relationships come from living inside each other’s pockets. I believe divorce comes from that. I admire the animal grace with which he enters the room and moves toward me. He prefers dark colors, the better to slide in and out of the night, or a room, unnoticed except for whatever he’s left behind that you may or may not discover for some time, like, say a tattoo on the back of one’s skull. “What are you doing?” “Reading,” I say nonchalantly, rubbing the tattoo on the back of my skull. I angle the volume so he can’t see the cover. If he sees what I’m reading, he’ll know I’m looking for something. If he realizes how bad it’s gotten, and what I’m thinking about doing, he’ll try to stop me. He circles behind me, looks over my shoulder at the thick vellum of the ancient manuscript. “In the first tongue?” “Is that what it is?” I feign innocence. He knows precisely which cells in my body are innocent and which are thoroughly corrupted. He’s responsible for most of the corrupted ones. One corner of his mouth ticks up and I see the glint of beast behind his eyes, a feral crimson backlight, bloodstaining the whites. It turns me on. Barrons makes me feel violently, electrically sexual and alive. I’d march into hell beside him. But I will not let him march into hell beside me. And there’s no doubt that’s where I’m going. I thought I was strong, a heroine. I thought I was the victor. The enemy got inside my head and tried to seduce me with lies. It’s easy to walk away from lies. Power is another thing. Temptation isn’t a sin that you triumph over once, completely and then you’re free. Temptation slips into bed with you each night and helps you say your prayers. It wakes you in the morning with a friendly cup of coffee, and knows exactly how you take it. He skirts the Chesterfield sofa and stands over me. “Looking for something, Ms. Lane?” I’m eye level with his belt but that’s not where my gaze gets stuck and suddenly my mouth is so dry I can hardly swallow and I know I’m going to want to. I’m Pri-ya for this man. I hate it. I love it. I can’t escape it. I reach for his belt buckle. The manuscript slides from my lap, forgotten. Along with everything else but this moment, this man. “I just found it,” I tell him.
Karen Marie Moning (Burned (Fever, #7))
On awakening let us think about the twenty-four hours ahead. We consider our plans for the day. Before we begin, we ask God to direct our thinking, especially asking that it be divorced from self-pity, dishonest or self-seeking motives. Under these conditions we can employ our mental faculties with assurance, for after all God gave us brains to use. Our thought-life will be placed on a much higher plane when our thinking is cleared of wrong motives. In thinking about our day we may face indecision. We may not be able to determine which course to take. Here we ask God for inspiration, an intuitive thought or a decision. We relax and take it easy. We don’t struggle. We are often surprised how the right answers come after we have tried this for a while. What used to be the hunch or the occasional inspiration gradually becomes a working part of the mind. Being still inexperienced and having just made conscious contact with God, it is not probable that we are going to be inspired at all times. We might pay for this presumption in all sorts of absurd actions and ideas. Nevertheless, we find that our thinking will, as time passes, be more and more on the plane of inspiration. We come to rely upon it. We usually conclude the period of meditation with a prayer that we be shown all through the day what our next step is to be, that we be given whatever we need to take care of such problems. We ask especially for freedom from self-will, and are careful to make no request for ourselves only. We may ask for ourselves, however, if others will be helped. We are careful never to pray for our own selfish ends. Many of us have wasted a lot of time doing that and it doesn’t work. You can easily see why.
Alcoholics Anonymous (Alcoholics Anonymous)
Prayer before Birth I am not yet born; O hear me. Let not the bloodsucking bat or the rat or the stoat or the club-footed ghoul come near me. I am not yet born, console me. I fear that the human race may with tall walls wall me, with strong drugs dope me, with wise lies lure me, on black racks rack me, in blood-baths roll me. I am not yet born; provide me With water to dandle me, grass to grow for me, trees to talk to me, sky to sing to me, birds and a white light in the back of my mind to guide me. I am not yet born; forgive me For the sins that in me the world shall commit, my words when they speak me, my thoughts when they think me, my treason engendered by traitors beyond me, my life when they murder by means of my hands, my death when they live me. I am not yet born; rehearse me In the parts I must play and the cues I must take when old men lecture me, bureaucrats hector me, mountains frown at me, lovers laugh at me, the white waves call me to folly and the desert calls me to doom and the beggar refuses my gift and my children curse me. I am not yet born; O hear me, Let not the man who is beast or who thinks he is God come near me. I am not yet born; O fill me With strength against those who would freeze my humanity, would dragoon me into a lethal automaton, would make me a cog in a machine, a thing with one face, a thing, and against all those who would dissipate my entirety, would blow me like thistledown hither and thither or hither and thither like water held in the hands would spill me. Let them not make me a stone and let them not spill me. Otherwise kill me.
Louis MacNeice
1. Myth: Without God, life has no meaning. There are 1.2 billion Chinese who have no predominant religion, and 1 billion people in India who are predominantly Hindu. And 65% of Japan's 127 million people claim to be non-believers. It is laughable to suggest that none of these billions of people are leading meaningful lives. 2. Myth: Prayer works. Studies have now shown that inter-cessionary prayer has no effect whatsoever of the health or well-being of the subject. 3. Myth: Atheists are immoral. There are hundreds of millions of non-believers on the planet living normal, decent, moral lives. They love their children, care about others, obey laws, and try to keep from doing harm to others just like everyone else. In fact, in predominantly non-believing countries such as in northern Europe, measures of societal health such as life expectancy at birth, adult literacy, per capita income, education, homicide, suicide, gender equality, and political coercion are better than they are in believing societies. 4. Myth: Belief in God is compatible with science. In the past, every supernatural or paranormal explanation of phenomena that humans believed turned out to be mistaken; science has always found a physical explanation that revealed that the supernatural view was a myth. Modern organisms evolved from lower life forms, they weren't created 6,000 years ago in the finished state. Fever is not caused by demon possession. Bad weather is not the wrath of angry gods. Miracle claims have turned out to be mistakes, frauds, or deceptions. We have every reason to conclude that science will continue to undermine the superstitious worldview of religion. 5. Myth: We have immortal souls that survive death. We have mountains of evidence that makes it clear that our consciousness, our beliefs, our desires, our thoughts all depend upon the proper functioning of our brains our nervous systems to exist. So when the brain dies, all of these things that we identify with the soul also cease to exist. Despite the fact that billions of people have lived and died on this planet, we do not have a single credible case of someone's soul, or consciousness, or personality continuing to exist despite the demise of their bodies. 6. Myth: If there is no God, everything is permitted. Consider the billions of people in China, India, and Japan above. If this claim was true, none of them would be decent moral people. So Ghandi, the Buddha, and Confucius, to name only a few were not moral people on this view. 7. Myth: Believing in God is not a cause of evil. The examples of cases where it was someone's belief in God that was the justification for their evils on humankind are too numerous to mention. 8. Myth: God explains the origins of the universe. All of the questions that allegedly plague non-God attempts to explain our origins still apply to the faux explanation of God. The suggestion that God created everything does not make it any clearer to us where it all came from, how he created it, why he created it, where it is all going. In fact, it raises even more difficult mysteries: how did God, operating outside the confines of space, time, and natural law 'create' or 'build' a universe that has physical laws? We have no precedent and maybe no hope of answering or understanding such a possibility. What does it mean to say that some disembodied, spiritual being who knows everything and has all power, 'loves' us, or has thoughts, or goals, or plans? 9. Myth: There's no harm in believing in God. Religious views inform voting, how they raise their children, what they think is moral and immoral, what laws and legislation they pass, who they are friends and enemies with, what companies they invest in, where they donate to charities, who they approve and disapprove of, who they are willing to kill or tolerate, what crimes they are willing to commit, and which wars they are willing to fight.
Matthew S. McCormick
Free! Body and soul free!" she kept whispering. Josephine was kneeling before the closed door with her lips to the keyhole, imploring for admission. "Louise, open the door! I beg; open the door--you will make yourself ill. What are you doing, Louise? For heaven's sake open the door." Go away. I am not making myself ill." No; she was drinking in a very elixir of life through that open window. Her fancy was running riot along those days ahead of her. Spring days, and summer days, and all sorts of days that would be her own. She breathed a quick prayer that life might be long. It was only yesterday she had thought with a shudder that life might be long. She arose at length and opened the door to her sister's importunities. There was a feverish triumph in her eyes, and she carried herself unwittingly like a goddess of Victory. She clasped her sister's waist, and together they descended the stairs. Richards stood waiting for them at the bottom. Some one was opening the front door with a latchkey. It was Brently Mallard who entered, a little travel-stained, composedly carrying his grip-sack and umbrella. He had been far from the scene of the accident, and did not even know there had been one. He stood amazed at Josephine's piercing cry; at Richards' quick motion to screen him from the view of his wife. When the doctors came they said she had died of heart disease--of the joy that kills. (last lines)
Kate Chopin (The Story of an Hour)
We are not our own any more than what we possess is our own. We did not make ourselves, we cannot be supreme over ourselves. We are not our own masters. We are God's property. Is it not our happiness thus to view the matter? Is it any happiness or any comfort, to consider that we are our own? It may be thought so by the young and prosperous. These may think it a great thing to have everything, as they suppose, their own way–to depend on no one–to have to think of nothing out of sight, to be without the irksomeness of continual acknowledgment, continual prayer, continual reference of what they do to the will of another. But as time goes on, they, as all men, will find that independence was not made for man–that it is an unnatural state–will do for a while, but will not carry us on safely to the end …'" Mustapha Mond paused, put down the first book and, picking up the other, turned over the pages. "Take this, for example," he said, and in his deep voice once more began to read: "'A man grows old; he feels in himself that radical sense of weakness, of listlessness, of discomfort, which accompanies the advance of age; and, feeling thus, imagines himself merely sick, lulling his fears with the notion that this distressing condition is due to some particular cause, from which, as from an illness, he hopes to recover. Vain imaginings! That sickness is old age; and a horrible disease it is. They say that it is the fear of death and of what comes after death that makes men turn to religion as they advance in years. But my own experience has given me the conviction that, quite apart from any such terrors or imaginings, the religious sentiment tends to develop as we grow older; to develop because, as the passions grow calm, as the fancy and sensibilities are less excited and less excitable, our reason becomes less troubled in its working, less obscured by the images, desires and distractions, in which it used to be absorbed; whereupon God emerges as from behind a cloud; our soul feels, sees, turns towards the source of all light; turns naturally and inevitably; for now that all that gave to the world of sensations its life and charms has begun to leak away from us, now that phenomenal existence is no more bolstered up by impressions from within or from without, we feel the need to lean on something that abides, something that will never play us false–a reality, an absolute and everlasting truth. Yes, we inevitably turn to God; for this religious sentiment is of its nature so pure, so delightful to the soul that experiences it, that it makes up to us for all our other losses.
Aldous Huxley (Brave New World)
PRAYER BEFORE BIRTH I am not yet born; O hear me. Let not the bloodsucking bat or the rat or the stoat or the club-footed ghoul come near me. I am not yet born; console me. I fear that the human race may with tall walls wall me, with strong drugs dope me, with wise lies lure me, on black racks rack me, in blood-baths roll me. I am not yet born; provide me With water to dandle me, grass to grow for me, trees to talk to me, sky to sing to me, birds and a white light in the back of my mind to guide me. I am not yet born; forgive me For the sins that in me the world shall commit, my words when they speak me, my thoughts when they think me, my treason engendered by traitors beyond me, my life when they murder by means of my hands, my death when they live me. I am not yet born; rehearse me In the parts I must play and the cues I must take when old men lecture me, bureaucrats hector me, mountains frown at me, lovers laugh at me, the white waves call me to folly and the desert calls me to doom and the beggar refuses my gift and my children curse me. I am not yet born; O hear me, Let not the man who is beast or who thinks he is God come near me. I am not yet born; O fill me With strength against those who would freeze my humanity, would dragoon me into a lethal automaton, would make me a cog in a machine, a thing with one face, a thing, and against all those who would dissipate my entirety, would blow me like thistledown hither and thither or hither and thither like water held in the hands would spill me. Let them not make me a stone and let them not spill me. Otherwise kill me.
Louis Macniece (Oracion Antes De Nacer/ Prayers Before to Born (Poesia))
In winter you wake up in this city, especially on Sundays, to the chiming of its innumerable bells, as though behind your gauze curtains a gigantic china teaset were vibrating on a silver tray in the pearl-gray sky. You fling the window open and the room is instantly flooded with this outer, peal-laden haze, which is part damp oxygen, part coffee and prayers. No matter what sort of pills, and how many, you've got to swallow this morning, you feel it's not over for you yet. No matter, by the same token, how autonomous you are, how much you've been betrayed, how thorough and dispiriting in your self-knowledge, you assume there is still hope for you, or at least a future. (Hope, said Francis Bacon, is a good breakfast but bad supper.) This optimism derives from the haze, from the prayer part of it, especially if it's time for breakfast. On days like this, the city indeed acquires a porcelain aspect, what with all its zinc-covered cupolas resembling teapots or upturned cups, and the tilted profile of campaniles clinking like abandoned spoons and melting in the sky. Not to mention the seagulls and pigeons, now sharpening into focus, now melting into air. I should say that, good though this place is for honeymoons, I've often thought it should be tried for divorces also - both in progress and already accomplished. There is no better backdrop for rapture to fade into; whether right or wrong, no egoist can star for long in this porcelain setting by crystal water, for it steals the show. I am aware, of course, of the disastrous consequence the above suggestion may have for hotel rates here, even in winter. Still, people love their melodrama more than architecture, and I don't feel threatened. It is surprising that beauty is valued less than psychology, but so long as such is the case, I'll be able to afford this city - which means till the end of my days, and which ushers in the generous notion of the future.
Joseph Brodsky
A modern fad which has gained widespread acceptance amongst the semi-educated who wish to appear secular is the practice of meditation. They proclaim with an air of smug superiority, ‘Main mandir-vandir nahin jaata, meditate karta hoon (I don’t go to temples or other such places, I meditate).’ The exercise involves sitting lotus-pose (padma asana), regulating one’s breathing and making your mind go blank to prevent it from ‘jumping about like monkeys’ from one (thought) branch to another. This intense concentration awakens the kundalini serpent coiled at the base of the spine. It travels upwards through chakras (circles) till it reaches its destination in the cranium. Then the kundalini is fully jaagrit (roused) and the person is assured to have reached his goal. What does meditation achieve? The usual answer is ‘peace of mind’. If you probe further, ‘and what does peace of mind achieve?’, you will get no answer because there is none. Peace of mind is a sterile concept which achieves nothing. The exercise may be justified as therapy for those with disturbed minds or those suffering from hypertension, but there is no evidence to prove that it enhances creativity. On the contrary it can be established by statistical data that all the great works of art, literature, science and music were works of highly agitated minds, at times minds on the verge of collapse. Allama Iqbal’s short prayer is pertinent: Khuda tujhey kisee toofaan say aashna kar dey Keh terey beher kee maujon mein iztiraab naheen (May God bring a storm in your life, There is no agitation in the waves of your life’s ocean.)
Khushwant Singh (The End Of India)
As we have seen, prayer, celebration of the religious offices, alms, consoling the afflicted, the cultivation of a little piece of ground, fraternity, frugality, hospitality, self-sacrifice, confidence, study, and work, filled up each day of his life. Filled up is exactly the phrase; and in fact, the Bishop's day was full to the brim with good thoughts, good words, and good actions. Yet it was not complete if cold or rainy weather prevented him from passing an hour or two in the evening, when the two women had retired, in his garden before going to sleep. It seemed as though it were a sort of rite with him, to prepare himself for sleep by meditating in the presence of the great spectacle of the starry firmament. Sometimes late at night, if the two women were awake, they would hear him slowly walking the paths. He was out there alone with himself, composed, tranquil, adoring, comparing the serenity of his heart with the serenity of the skies, moved in the darkness by the visible splendors of the constellations, and the invisible splendor of God, opening his soul to the thoughts that fall from the Unknown. In such moments, offering up his heart at the hour when the flowers of night emit their perfume, lit like a lamp in the center of the starry night, expanding his soul in ecstasy in the midst of creation’s universal radiance, perhaps he could not have told what was happening in his own mind; he felt something depart from him, and something descend upon him; mysterious exchanges of the depths of the soul with the depths of the universe. He contemplated the grandeur, and the presence of God; the eternity of the future, that strange mystery; the eternity of the past, a stranger mystery; all the infinities hidden deep in every direction; and, without trying to comprehend the incomprehensible, he saw it. He did not study God; he was dazzled by Him. He reflected upon the magnificent union of atoms, which give visible forms to Nature, revealing forces by recognizing them, creating individualities in unity, proportions in extension, the innumerable in the infinite, and through light producing beauty. These unions are forming and dissolving continually; from which come life and death. He would sit on a wooden bench leaning against a decrepit trellis and look at the stars through the irregular outlines of his fruit trees. This quarter of an acre of ground, so sparingly planted, so cluttered with shed and ruins, was dear to him and satisfied him. What more was needed by this old man, who divided the leisure hours of his life, where he had so little leisure, between gardening in the day time, and contemplation at night? Was this narrow enclosure, with the sky for a background not space enough for him to adore God in his most beautiful, most sublime works? Indeed, is that not everything? What more do you need? A little garden to walk in, and immensity to reflect on. At his feet something to cultivate and gather; above his head something to study and meditate on; a few flowers on earth and all the stars in the sky.
Victor Hugo (Les Misérables)
THERE WILL COME A DAY . . . There will come a day when she no longer wants to hold my hand. So I will hold it while I still can. There will come a day when she no longer tells me what’s on her mind. So I will listen while she still wants to talk to me. There will come a day when she no longer says, “Watch me, Mama!” So I will observe and encourage while I still can. There will come a day when she no longer invites me to eat school lunch with her. So I will join her while I still can. There will come a day when she no longer needs my help to bake cookies or hit the tennis ball in the sweet spot. So I will stand beside her gently guiding and instructing while I still can. There will come a day when she no longer wants my opinion about clothes, friendship, death, and heaven. So I will share my views while she still wants to hear them. There will come a day when she no longer allows me to hear her prayers and her dreams. So I will fold my hands and absorb every word while I still can. There will come a day when she no longer sleeps with her beloved stuffed animal. And that day may come sooner than I think. Because sometimes unexpected events happen, causing the days to rush by, the years to tumble ahead. Sometimes what I thought I would have time to do, Like listen to her laugh, Wipe her tears, Breathe her scent, And hold her close, Will no longer be available to me. What I thought I had all the time in the world to do, May no longer be an option. The little pink dog that my child must now learn to sleep without after eight precious years reminds me that tomorrow may not allow for all the things I planned to do. So instead of being too busy, Too tired, Or too distracted when she seeks my love and attention, I will be ready and waiting To make her a well-loved child While I still can.
Rachel Macy Stafford (Hands Free Mama: A Guide to Putting Down the Phone, Burning the To-Do List, and Letting Go of Perfection to Grasp What Really Matters!)
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN we pray? Have you ever really thought about that? When you bow your knee and fold your hands or walk the floor with your eyes closed, opening your heart to heaven, what exactly happens? There are very few references in the Bible about the proper procedures for how to pray, and I believe that is because prayer is more about the heart’s attitude and focus than it is about whether we stand, sit, close our eyes, or any other practice we normally associate with prayer. The truth be told, if we are supposed to pray without ceasing, we should also be able to work on an engine, write an e-mail, give a presentation, change a diaper, write a report, have coffee with a friend, encourage a coworker, pay our bills, and any of the other myriad of things we do in a day while still keeping the communication lines open with heaven. I believe that every day we need focused times of prayer, but at all other times we should be in an attitude of prayer with our spiritual ears open to the thoughts of heaven. There should be seasons of intense, concentrated prayer and fasting with specified hours set aside for intercession, and there should be times when prayer is simply a regular part of our daily routine. A great interest has arisen in the last decade around 24-7 prayer rooms where different church members pray in hour-long blocks so that unbroken intercession is raised up for their city and our world. Other churches dedicate evenings solely to prayer and worship and gather believers to lift their voices in song and petition to the Lord. While all of these are wonderful things to do, at its essence prayer is simply conversation with God. Because we have changed passports from the kingdom of this world to the kingdom of heaven, we are members of God’s family and therefore have the right to talk with our Father anytime we want because He is not limited by time and space. Yet while it isn’t difficult to speak to Him, even as a babe in faith, it does take some maturity to discern His voice from the voice of our own thoughts, dreams, and desires. This is why, when I speak about prayer, I get more questions about hearing the voice of God than anything else.
Cindy Trimm (The Prayer Warrior's Way: Strategies from Heaven for Intimate Communication with God)
The missing remained missing and the portraits couldn't change that. But when Akhmed slid the finished portrait across the desk and the family saw the shape of that beloved nose, the air would flee the room, replaced by the miracle of recognition as mother, father, sister, brother, aunt, and cousin found in that nose the son, brother, nephew, and cousin that had been, would have been, could have been, and they might race after the possibility like cartoon characters dashing off a cliff, held by the certainty of the road until they looked down -- and plummeted is the word used by the youngest brother who, at the age of sixteen, is tired of being the youngest and hopes his older brother will return for many reasons, not least so he will marry and have a child and the youngest brother will no longer be youngest; that youngest brother, the one who has nothing to say about the nose because he remembers his older brother's nose and doesn't need the nose to mean what his parents need it to mean, is the one who six months later would be disappeared in the back of a truck, as his older brother was, who would know the Landfill through his blindfold and gag by the rich scent of clay, as his older brother had known, whose fingers would be wound with the electrical wires that had welded to his older brother's bones, who would stand above a mass grave his brother had dug and would fall in it as his older brother had, though taking six more minutes and four more bullets to die, would be buried an arm's length of dirt above his brother and whose bones would find over time those of his older brother, and so, at that indeterminate point in the future, answer his mother's prayer that her boys find each other, wherever they go; that younger brother would have a smile on his face and the silliest thought in his skull a minute before the first bullet would break it, thinking of how that day six months earlier, when they all went to have his older brother's portrait made, he should have had his made, too, because now his parents would have to make another trip, and he hoped they would, hoped they would because even if he knew his older brother's nose, he hadn't been prepared to see it, and seeing that nose, there, on the page, the density of loss it engendered, the unbelievable ache of loving and not having surrounded him, strong enough to toss him, as his brother had, into the summer lake, but there was nothing but air, and he'd believed that plummet was as close as they would ever come again, and with the first gunshot one brother fell within arms' reach of the other, and with the fifth shot the blindfold dissolved and the light it blocked became forever, and on the kitchen wall of his parents' house his portrait hangs within arm's reach of his older brother's, and his mother spends whole afternoons staring at them, praying that they find each other, wherever they go.
Anthony Marra (A Constellation of Vital Phenomena)
I hear another man cry, “Oh, sir my want of strength lies mainly in this, that I cannot repent sufficiently!” A curious idea men have of what repentance is! Many fancy that so many tears are to be shed, and so many groans are to be heaved, and so much despair is to be endured. Whence comes this unreasonable notion? Unbelief and despair are sins, and therefore I do not see how they can be constituent elements of acceptable repentance; yet there are many who regard them as necessary parts of true Christian experience. They are in great error. Still, I know what they mean, for in the days of my darkness I used to feel in the same way. I desired to repent, but I thought that I could not do it, and yet all the while I was repenting. Odd as it may sound, I felt that I could not feel. I used to get into a corner and weep, because I could not weep; and I fell into bitter sorrow because I could not sorrow for sin. What a jumble it all is when in our unbelieving state we begin to judge our own condition! It is like a blind man looking at his own eyes. My heart was melted within me for fear, because I thought that my heart was as hard as an adamant stone. My heart was broken to think that it would not break. Now I can see that I was exhibiting the very thing which I thought I did not possess; but then I knew not where I was. Remember that the man who truly repents is never satisfied with his own repentance. We can no more repent perfectly than we can live perfectly. However pure our tears, there will always be some dirt in them: there will be something to be repented of even in our best repentance. But listen! To repent is to change your mind about sin, and Christ, and all the great things of God. There is sorrow implied in this; but the main point is the turning of the heart from sin to Christ. If there be this turning, you have the essence of true repentance, even though no alarm and no despair should ever have cast their shadow upon your mind.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon (All of Grace)
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal. ‘I have a dream that one day, on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down to gether at the table of brotherhood – I have a dream. ‘That one day even the state of Mississippi – a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of op pression – will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. I have a dream.’ He had hit a rhythm, and two hundred thousand people felt it sway their souls. It was more than a speech: it was a poem and a canticle and a prayer as deep as the grave. The heartbreaking phrase ‘I have a dream’ came like an amen at the end of each ringing sentence. ‘. . . That my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character – I have a dream today. ‘I have a dream that one day down in Alabama – with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification – one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers – I have a dream today. ‘With this faith we will be able to hew, out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope. ‘With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. ‘With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.’ Looking around, Jasper saw that black and white faces alike were running with tears. Even he felt moved, and he had thought himself immune to this kind of thing. ‘And when this happens; when we allow freedom to ring; when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city; we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands . . .’ Here he slowed down, and the crowd was almost silent. King’s voice trembled with the earthquake force of his passion. ‘. . . and sing, in the words of the old Negro spiritual: ‘Free at last! ‘Free at last! ‘Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!
Ken Follett (Edge of Eternity (The Century Trilogy, #3))
But the Esquire passage I found most poignant and revealing was this one: Mister Rogers' visit to a teenage boy severely afflicted with cerebral palsy and terrible anger. One of the boys' few consolations in life, Junod wrote, was watching Mister Rogers Neighborhood. 'At first, the boy was made very nervous by the thought that Mister Rogers was visiting him. He was so nervous, in fact, that when Mister Rogers did visit, he got mad at himself and began hating himself and hitting himself, and his mother had to take him to another room and talk to him. Mister Rogers didn't leave, though. He wanted something from the boy, and Mister Rogers never leaves when he wants something from somebody. He just waited patiently, and when the boy came back, Mister Rogers talked to him, and then he made his request. He said, 'I would like you to do something for me. Would you do something for me?' On his computer, the boy answered yes, of course, he would do anything for Mister Rogers, so then Mister Rogers said: I would like you to pray for me. Will you pray for me?' And now the boy didn't know how to respond. He was thunderstruck... because nobody had ever asked him for something like that, ever. The boy had always been prayed for. The boy had always been the object of prayer, and now he was being asked to pray for Mister Rogers, and although at first he didn't know how to do it, he said he would, he said he'd try, and ever since then he keeps Mister Rogers in his prayers and doesn't talk about wanting to die anymore, because he figures if Mister Rogers likes him, that must mean that God likes him, too. As for Mister Rogers himself... he doesn't look at the story the same way the boy did or I did. In fact, when Mister Rogers first told me the story, I complimented him on being smart - for knowing that asking the boy for his prayers would make the boy feel better about himself - and Mister Rogers responded by looking at me first with puzzlement and then with surprise. 'Oh heavens no, Tom! I didn't ask him for his prayers for him; I asked for me. I asked him because I think that anyone who has gone through challenges like that must be very close to God. I asked him because I wanted his intercession.
Tim Madigan (I'm Proud of You: My Friendship with Fred Rogers)
What a skeletal wreck of man this is. Translucent flesh and feeble bones, the kind of temple where the whores and villains try to tempt the holistic domes. Running rampid with free thought to free form, and the free and clear. When the matters at hand are shelled out like lint at a laundry mat to sift and focus on the bigger, better, now. We all have a little sin that needs venting, virtues for the rending and laws and systems and stems are ripped from the branches of office, do you know where your post entails? Do you serve a purpose, or purposely serve? When in doubt inside your atavistic allure, the value of a summer spent, and a winter earned. For the rest of us, there is always Sunday. The day of the week the reeks of rest, but all we do is catch our breath, so we can wade naked in the bloody pool, and place our hand on the big, black book. To watch the knives zigzag between our aching fingers. A vacation is a countdown, T minus your life and counting, time to drag your tongue across the sugar cube, and hope you get a taste. WHAT THE FUCK IS ALL THIS FOR? WHAT THE HELL’S GOING ON? SHUT UP! I can go on and on but lets move on, shall we? Say, your me, and I’m you, and they all watch the things we do, and like a smack of spite they threw me down the stairs, haven’t felt like this in years. The great magnet of malicious magnanimous refuse, let me go, and punch me into the dead spout again. That’s where you go when there’s no one else around, it’s just you, and there was never anyone to begin with, now was there? Sanctimonious pretentious dastardly bastards with their thumb on the pulse, and a finger on the trigger. CLASSIFIED MY ASS! THAT’S A FUCKING SECRET, AND YOU KNOW IT! Government is another way to say better…than…you. It’s like ice but no pick, a murder charge that won’t stick, it’s like a whole other world where you can smell the food, but you can’t touch the silverware. Huh, what luck. Fascism you can vote for. Humph, isn’t that sweet? And we’re all gonna die some day, because that’s the American way, and I’ve drunk too much, and said too little, when your gaffer taped in the middle, say a prayer, say a face, get your self together and see what’s happening. SHUT UP! FUCK YOU! FUCK YOU! I’m sorry, I could go on and on but their times to move on so, remember: you’re a wreck, an accident. Forget the freak, your just nature. Keep the gun oiled, and the temple cleaned shit snort, and blaspheme, let the heads cool, and the engine run. Because in the end, everything we do, is just everything we’ve done.
Stone Sour (Stonesour)
Most churches do not grow beyond the spiritual health of their leadership. Many churches have a pastor who is trying to lead people to a Savior he has yet to personally encounter. If spiritual gifting is no proof of authentic faith, then certainly a job title isn't either. You must have a clear sense of calling before you enter ministry. Being a called man is a lonely job, and many times you feel like God has abandoned you in your ministry. Ministry is more than hard. Ministry is impossible. And unless we have a fire inside our bones compelling us, we simply will not survive. Pastoral ministry is a calling, not a career. It is not a job you pursue. If you don’t think demons are real, try planting a church! You won’t get very far in advancing God’s kingdom without feeling resistance from the enemy. If I fail to spend two hours in prayer each morning, the devil gets the victory through the day. Once a month I get away for the day, once a quarter I try to get out for two days, and once a year I try to get away for a week. The purpose of these times is rest, relaxation, and solitude with God. A pastor must always be fearless before his critics and fearful before his God. Let us tremble at the thought of neglecting the sheep. Remember that when Christ judges us, he will judge us with a special degree of strictness. The only way you will endure in ministry is if you determine to do so through the prevailing power of the Holy Spirit. The unsexy reality of the pastorate is that it involves hard work—the heavy-lifting, curse-ridden, unyielding employment of your whole person for the sake of the church. Pastoral ministry requires dogged, unyielding determination, and determination can only come from one source—God himself. Passive staff members must be motivated. Erring elders and deacons must be confronted. Divisive church members must be rebuked. Nobody enjoys doing such things (if you do, you should be not be a pastor!), but they are necessary in order to have a healthy church over the long haul. If you allow passivity, laziness, and sin to fester, you will soon despise the church you pastor. From the beginning of sacred Scripture (Gen. 2:17) to the end (Rev. 21:8), the penalty for sin is death. Therefore, if we sin, we should die. But it is Jesus, the sinless one, who dies in our place for our sins. The good news of the gospel is that Jesus died to take to himself the penalty of our sin. The Bible is not Christ-centered because it is generally about Jesus. It is Christ-centered because the Bible’s primary purpose, from beginning to end, is to point us toward the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus for the salvation and sanctification of sinners. Christ-centered preaching goes much further than merely providing suggestions for how to live; it points us to the very source of life and wisdom and explains how and why we have access to him. Felt needs are set into the context of the gospel, so that the Christian message is not reduced to making us feel better about ourselves. If you do not know how sinful you are, you feel no need of salvation. Sin-exposing preaching helps people come face-to-face with their sin and their great need for a Savior. We can worship in heaven, and we can talk to God in heaven, and we can read our Bibles in heaven, but we can’t share the gospel with our lost friends in heaven. “Would your city weep if your church did not exist?” It was crystal-clear for me. Somehow, through fear or insecurity, I had let my dreams for our church shrink. I had stopped thinking about the limitless things God could do and had been distracted by my own limitations. I prayed right there that God would forgive me of my small-mindedness. I asked God to forgive my lack of faith that God could use a man like me to bring the message of the gospel through our missionary church to our lost city. I begged God to renew my heart and mind with a vision for our city that was more like Christ's.
Darrin Patrick (Church Planter: The Man, The Message, The Mission)
The heartwood," Rob murmured, looking at me. "You wanted to marry me in the heart of Major Oak." I beamed at him grateful that he understood. "And Scar," he whispered. I leaned in close. "Are you wearing knives to our wedding?" Nodding, I laughed, telling him, "I was going to get you here one way or another, Hood." He laughed, a bright, merry sound. Standing in the heart of the tree, he reached again for my hand, fingers sliding over mine. Touching his hand, a rope of lightening lashed round my fingers, like it seared us together. Now, and for always. His fingers moved on mine, rubbing over my hand before capturing it tight and turning me to the priest. The priest looked over his shoulder, watching as the sun began to dip. He led us in prayer, he asked me to speak the same words I'd spoken not long past to Gisbourne, but that whole thing felt like a bad dream, like I were waking and it were fading and gone for good. "Lady Scarlet." he asked me with a smile, "known to some as Lady Marian of Huntingdon, will thou have this lord to thy wedded husband, will thou love him and honour him, keep him and obey him, in health and in sickness, as a wife should a husband, forsaking all others on account of him, so long as ye both shall live?" I looked at Robin, tears burning in my eyes. "I will," I promised. "I will, always." Rob's face were beaming back at me, his ocean eyes shimmering bright. The priest smiled. "Robin of Locksley, will thou have this lady to thy wedded wife, will thou love her and honor her, keep her and guard her, in health and in sickness, as a husband should a wife, forsaking all others on account of her, so long as ye both shall live?" the priest asked. "Yes," Rob said. "I will." "You have the rings?" the priest asked Rob. "I do," I told the priest, taking two rings from where Bess had tied them to my dress. I'd sent Godfrey out to buy them at market without Rob knowing. "I knew you weren't planning on this," I told him. Rob just grinned like a fool at me, taking the ring I handed him to put on my finger. Laughs bubbled up inside of me, and I felt like I were smiling so wide something were stuck in my cheeks and holding me open. More shy and proud than I thought I'd be, I said. "I take you as me wedded husband, Robin. And thereto I plight my troth." I pushed the ring onto his finger. He took my half hand in one of his, but the other- holding the ring- went into his pocket. "I may not have known I would marry you today Scar," he said. "But I did know I would marry you." He showed me a ring, a large ruby set in delicate gold. "This," he said to me, "was my mother's. It's the last thing I have of hers, and when I met you and loved you and realized your name was the exact colour of the stone- " He swallowed, and cleared his throat, looking at me with the blue eyes that shot right through me. "This was meant to be Scarlet. I was always meant to love you. To marry you." The priest coughed. "Say the words, my son, and you will marry her." Rob grinned and I laughed, and Rob stepped closer, cradling my hand. "I take you as my wedded wife, Scarlet. And thereto I plight my troth." He slipped the ring on my finger and it fit. "Receive the Holy Spirit," the priest said, and kissed Robin on the cheek. Rob's happy grin turned a touch wolflike as he turned back to me, hauling me against him and angling his mouth over mine. I wrapped my arms around him and my head spun- I couldn't tell if we were spinning, if I were dizzy, if my feet were on the ground anymore at all, but all I knew, all I cared for, were him, his mouth against mine, and letting the moment we became man and wife spin into eternity.
A.C. Gaughen (Lion Heart (Scarlet, #3))
Girls aside, the other thing I found in the last few years of being at school, was a quiet, but strong Christian faith – and this touched me profoundly, setting up a relationship or faith that has followed me ever since. I am so grateful for this. It has provided me with a real anchor to my life and has been the secret strength to so many great adventures since. But it came to me very simply one day at school, aged only sixteen. As a young kid, I had always found that a faith in God was so natural. It was a simple comfort to me: unquestioning and personal. But once I went to school and was forced to sit through somewhere in the region of nine hundred dry, Latin-liturgical, chapel services, listening to stereotypical churchy people droning on, I just thought that I had got the whole faith deal wrong. Maybe God wasn’t intimate and personal but was much more like chapel was … tedious, judgemental, boring and irrelevant. The irony was that if chapel was all of those things, a real faith is the opposite. But somehow, and without much thought, I had thrown the beautiful out with the boring. If church stinks, then faith must do, too. The precious, natural, instinctive faith I had known when I was younger was tossed out with this newly found delusion that because I was growing up, it was time to ‘believe’ like a grown-up. I mean, what does a child know about faith? It took a low point at school, when my godfather, Stephen, died, to shake me into searching a bit harder to re-find this faith I had once known. Life is like that. Sometimes it takes a jolt to make us sit and remember who and what we are really about. Stephen had been my father’s best friend in the world. And he was like a second father to me. He came on all our family holidays, and spent almost every weekend down with us in the Isle of Wight in the summer, sailing with Dad and me. He died very suddenly and without warning, of a heart attack in Johannesburg. I was devastated. I remember sitting up a tree one night at school on my own, and praying the simplest, most heartfelt prayer of my life. ‘Please, God, comfort me.’ Blow me down … He did. My journey ever since has been trying to make sure I don’t let life or vicars or church over-complicate that simple faith I had found. And the more of the Christian faith I discover, the more I realize that, at heart, it is simple. (What a relief it has been in later life to find that there are some great church communities out there, with honest, loving friendships that help me with all of this stuff.) To me, my Christian faith is all about being held, comforted, forgiven, strengthened and loved – yet somehow that message gets lost on most of us, and we tend only to remember the religious nutters or the God of endless school assemblies. This is no one’s fault, it is just life. Our job is to stay open and gentle, so we can hear the knocking on the door of our heart when it comes. The irony is that I never meet anyone who doesn’t want to be loved or held or forgiven. Yet I meet a lot of folk who hate religion. And I so sympathize. But so did Jesus. In fact, He didn’t just sympathize, He went much further. It seems more like this Jesus came to destroy religion and to bring life. This really is the heart of what I found as a young teenager: Christ comes to make us free, to bring us life in all its fullness. He is there to forgive us where we have messed up (and who hasn’t), and to be the backbone in our being. Faith in Christ has been the great empowering presence in my life, helping me walk strong when so often I feel so weak. It is no wonder I felt I had stumbled on something remarkable that night up that tree. I had found a calling for my life.
Bear Grylls (Mud, Sweat and Tears)