Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Prayer

"[Paraphrase] Action should be something added to the life of prayer, not something taken away from it." -

"Prayer is the most perfect and most divine action that a rational soul is capable of. It is of all actions and duties the most indispensably necessary." - Augustine Baker

"The aim and end of prayer is to revere, to recognize and to adore the sovereign majesty of God, through what he is in Himself rather than what he is in regard to us, and rather to love his goodness by the love of that goodness itself than for what it sends us." - François Bourgoing

"A prayer, in its simplest definition, is merely a wish turned heavenward." - Phillips Brooks

"Every wish is like a prayer with God." - Elizabeth Browning, fully Elizabeth Barrett Browning

"Suffering should lead man to self-inspection... to the admission of errors... and to prayer and forgiveness." - Bűchler Sándor or Alexander Bűchler

"Sooner mayest thou trust thy pocket to a pickpocket than give loyal friendship to the man who boasts of eyes to which the heart never mounts in dew! Only when man weeps he should be alone, not because tars are weak, but they should be secret. Tears are akin to prayer - Pharisees parade prayers, impostors parade tears." -

"The best answer to all objections urged against prayer is that fact that man cannot help praying; for we may be sure that which is so spontaneous and ineradicable in human nature has its fitting objects and methods in the arrangement of a boundless Providence." - Edwin Hubbell Chapin

"The deepest life of nature is silent and obscure; so often the elements that move and mould society are the results of the sister’s counsel and the mother’s prayer." - Edwin Hubbell Chapin

"Prayer requires more of the heart than of the tongue." - Adam Clarke

"There are two principal points of attention necessary for the preservation of this constant spirit of prayer which unites us with God; we must continually seek to cherish it, and we must avoid everything that tends to make us lose it." - François Fénelon, fully Francois de Salignac de la Mothe-Fénelon

"Prayer is confession of one's own unworthiness and weakness." -

"Prayer is not an old woman's idle amusement. Properly understood and applied, it is the most potent instrument of action." -

"Brotherhood doesn't come in a package. It is not a commodity to be taken down from the shelf with one hand - it is an accomplishment of soul-searching prayer, and perseverance... The spontaneous feeling of brotherhood is a mark of human maturity." - Oveta Culp Hobby

"Prayer is intended to increase the devotion of the individual, but if the individual himself prays he requires no formula; he pours himself forth much more naturally in self-chosen and connected thoughts before God, and scarcely requires words at all. Real inward devotion knows no prayer but that arising form the depths of its own feelings." -

"Adoration is an activity of the loving, but still separate individuality. Contemplation is the state of union with the divine Ground of all being. The highest prayer is the most passive. Inevitably; for the less there is of self, the more there is of God." - Aldous Leonard Huxley

"Self-knowledge leading to self-hatred and humility, is the condition of the love and knowledge of God. Spiritual exercises that make use of distractions have this great merit, that they increase self-knowledge. Every soul that approaches God must be aware of who and what it is. To practice a form of mental or vocal prayer that is, so to speak, above one’s moral station is to act a lie: and the consequences of such lying are wrong notions about God, idolatrous worship of private and unrealistic phantasies and (for lack of the humility of self-knowledge) spiritual pride." - Aldous Leonard Huxley

"As my prayer became more attentive and inward I had less and less to say. I finally became completely silent. I started to listen - which is even the further removed from speaking. I first thought that praying entailed speaking. I then learnt that praying is hearing, not merely being silent. This is how it is. To pray does not mean to listen to oneself speaking. Prayer involves becoming silent, and being silent, and waiting until God is heard." - Søren Kierkegaard, fully Søren Aabye Kierkegaard

"Begin in prayer; continue in prayer; end in prayer; All the help that we have in the conversation of the children comes from God. We cannot convert their souls, but God can by the influence of His Spirit. When we study our lessons, let us go first for illumination to God, that we may so impress it on the minds and hearts of those we are teaching, that they may bring forth fruit for salvation; that they may see our earnestness." -

"The Divine Mind communicates with the human mind through the imagination. A prayer, therefore, should be offered in the form of a mental image. Man must visualize the thing he desires, he must use his imaginative powers to form his petition in terms clearly outlined in his own mind. The profound concentration of attention and thought which this form of prayer requires fills also the heart with deep earnestness and devotion. Man must pray whole-heartedly as well as wholemindedly; he must believe in his heart that his well-being depends completely upon his prayer." - Morris Lichtenstein

"Prayer is the act by which man, detaching himself from the embarrassments of sense and nature, ascends to the true level of his destiny" - Henry Parry Liddon

"Prayer and love are really learned in the hour when prayer becomes impossible and your heart turns to stone." - Thomas Merton

"In the life of the Indian there was only one inevitable duty - the duty of prayer - the daily recognition of the Unseen and Eternal." -

"Gestalt Prayer - I do my thing and you do your thing. I am not in this world to live up to your expectations, and you are not in this world to live up to mine. You are you, and I am I, and if by chance we find each other, it's beautiful. If not, it can't be helped." - Fritz Perls, fully Friedrich "Fritz" (Frederick) Salomon Perls

"We are all weak, finite, simple human beings, standing in the need of prayer. None need it so much as those who think they are strong, those who know it not but are deluded by self-sufficiency." - Harold Cooke Phillips

"The deepest wishes of the heart find expression in secret prayer." -

"To serve God is not to pass our lives on our knees in prayer; it is to discharge on earth those obligations which our duty requires." - Jean-Jacques Rousseau

"I would sit quietly for hours and hours in meditation, but nothing came to my heart. I didn’t feel or realize anything... Then I learned to pray for the sake of prayer and not for anything else. I would not be satisfied with anything but God. If our prayers are that sincere and our interest is only in God and nothing else, then God cannot sit quietly somewhere. He has to run to us. If we need help, it is always waiting. All we need to do is ask sincerely." - Satchidananda, fully Swami Satchidananda, born C. K. Ramaswamy Gounder NULL

"The right relation between prayer and conduct is not that conduct is supremely important and prayer may help it, but that prayer is supremely important and conduct tests it." - William Temple, fully Archbishop William Temple

"Charity should be the habit of our estimates; kindness of our feelings; benevolence of our affections; cheerfulness of our social intercourse; generosity of our living; improvement of our progress; prayer of our desires; fidelity of our sex-examination; being and doing good of our entire life." - John Tillotson, Archbishop of Canterbury

"Prayer is an excellent training ground for practicing control of one’s thoughts." -

"When is a prayer heard? When the soul is subdued." - Yehuda Alharizi, also Judah ben Solomon Harizi or al-Harizi

"The purpose of prayer is to leave us alone with God." - Leo Baeck

"Any heart turned God-ward, feels more joy in one short hour of prayer, than e'er was raised by all the feasts on earth since its foundation." - Gamaliel Bailey

"It is a basic rule of prayer that God will never do for us what we can do for ourselves. Prayer does not do things for us; it enables us to do things for ourselves." - William Barclay

"Man must lose himself in prayer and forget his own existence." -

"A prayer in its simplest definition is merely a wish turned Godward." - Phillips Brooks

"Let us give thanks to God upon Thanksgiving Day. Nature is beautiful and fellowmen are dear, and duty is close beside us, and God is over us and in us. We want to trust Him with a fuller trust, and so at last to come to that high life where we shall be careful for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let our request be made known unto God”; for that, and that alone, is peace." - Phillips Brooks

"Prayer is not conquering God’s reluctance, but taking hold of god’s willingness." - Phillips Brooks

"The greatest prayer is patience." -

"Human life is a constant want, and ought to be a constant prayer." - Horace Bushnell

"Religion is not a perpetual moping over good books. Religion is not even prayer, praise, holy ordinances, these are necessary to religion - no man can be religious without them. But religion is mainly and chiefly the glorifying of god amid the duties and trials of the world; the guiding of our course amid adverse winds and currents of temptation by the sunlight of duty and the compass of Divine truth, the bearing up manfully, wisely, courageously, for the honor of Christ, our great Leader in the conflict of life." - John Caird

"Music is the language of praise; and one of the most essential preparations for eternity is delight in praising God; a higher acquirement, I do think, than even delight and devotedness to prayer." - Allan Chalmers, fully Allan Knight Chalmers

"It is a terrible thought, that nothing is ever forgotten; that not an oath is ever uttered that does not continue to vibrate through all time, in the wide-spreading current of sound; that not a prayer is lisped, that its record is not to be found stamped on the laws of nature by the indelible seal of the Almighty's will." - James Fenimore Cooper

"It is a terrible thought, that nothing is ever forgotten; that not an oath is ever uttered that does not continue to vibrate through all times, in the wide spreading current of sound; that not a prayer is lisped, that its record is not to be found stamped on the laws of nature by the indelible seal of the Almighty's will." - William Cowper

"The sexual embrace can only be compared with music and with prayer." - Henry Havelock Ellis

"Accustom yourself gradually to carry prayer into all your daily occupations. Speak, move, work, in peace, as if you were in prayer, as indeed you ought to be. Do everything with excitement, by the spirit of grace." - François Fénelon, fully Francois de Salignac de la Mothe-Fénelon

"Speak, move, act in peace, as if you were in prayer. In truth, this is prayer." - François Fénelon, fully Francois de Salignac de la Mothe-Fénelon

"True prayer is only another name for the love of God. Its excellence does not consist in the multitude of our words; for our Father knoweth what things we have need of before we ask Him. The true prayer is that of the heart, and the heart prays only for what it desires. To pray, then, is to desire - but to desire what God would have us desire." - François Fénelon, fully Francois de Salignac de la Mothe-Fénelon