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Monday, July 26, 2010

Spirituality: “Prayer and Desire” from Primary Speech by Ann and Barry Ulanov

…God does not need to be told anything about what we need and want. Our words in prayer are not for God’s instruction but our own. We discover this way what in fact we do desire, what we want to reach out to and love. Thus we come to hold in open awareness what before we had lived unknowingly.

Surprises happen. We may discover we want more than we thought we dared. In the secret space of prayer, we may reveal to ourselves how much we want truth, beauty, love. In daily life, we usually hide from such desires, trying to protect ourselves from their urgency with the cynical argument that those are merely childish hops that life correctly disillusions. We may discover desires we did not know about or knew only dimly, desires that if followed would take us far off the path we have so carefully constructed. We might have to change jobs, leave relationships, forsake our whole way of living to take up an entirely different one. Following desires does not, as critics might warn, necessarily lead to self-indulgence and all the hedonistic sensations. Rather, it heads straight into the dangers of moral dilemma. The voice that God hears in prayer gets louder and louder for us if we go on praying. It may come to speak of a truth and a way of life that break sharply with the life we are living.

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