Hear our voice, O Lord, according to your faithful love.
Margaret Olley (Australian, 1923-2011) Hawkesbury wildflowers and pears.
Praying by heart
There is a need for some sort of prayer which is not spontaneous but which is truly rooted in conviction. To find this you can draw from a great many existing prayers. We already have a rich panoply of prayers, which were wrought in the throes of faith, by the Holy Spirit. For example, we have the Psalms, we have so many short and long prayers in the liturgical wealth of all the churches from which we can draw. What matters is that you should learn and know enough of such prayers so that at the right moment you are able to find the right prayers.
It is a question of learning by heart enough meaningful passages, from the Psalms or from the prayers of the saints. Each of us is sensitive to certain particular passages. Mark these passages that go deep into your heart, that move you deeply, that make sense, that express something which is already within your experience, either of sin, or of bliss in God, or of struggle.
Learn those passages, because one day when you are so completely low, so profoundly desperate that you cannot call out of your soul any spontaneous expression, any spontaneous wording, you will discover that these words come up and offer themselves to you as a gift of God, as a gift of the Church, as a gift of holiness, helping our simple lack of strength. And then you really need the prayers you have learnt and made a part of yourself.
Anthony Bloom, School for Prayer (Darton, Longman & Todd, 1970)
Arvo Pärt, Nunc dimittis. Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir.
May God our Redeemer show us compassion and love. Amen.