Better Than If There Were Thousands Of Meaningless Words …

… the beginning is faith, the end is love, and the union of the two is God.
— St. Irenaeus (quote from Early Christian Writings)

Prayer is not asking. It is a longing of the soul. It is daily admission of one’s weakness. It is better in prayer to have a heart without words than words without a heart.
— Mahatma Gandhi

As the memory of fire does not warm the body, so faith without love does not bring about the illumination of knowledge in the soul.
— Maximus Confessor

Prayer does not change God, but it changes him who prays.
— Soren Kierkegaard (quote from Prayer: A History)

Prayer requires more of the heart than the tongue.
— Adam Clarke (quote from Praying for Strangers)

than if there were thousands
of meaningless verses is
that on hearing
brings peace.

And better than chanting hundreds
of meaningless verses is
that on hearing
brings peace.
— attributed to Buddha from Dhammapada

Discovering Your True Self Through Prayer

Contemplation (the prayer beyond words and ideas) is a way to describe what Jesus did in the desert. It is not learning as much as it is unlearning. It is not explaining as much as containing and receiving everything, and holding onto nothing. It is refusing to judge too quickly and refining your own thoughts and feelings by calm observation and awareness over time—in the light of the Big Picture.

You cannot understand anything well once you have approved or disapproved of it. There is too much you there. Contemplation is loosening our attachment to ourselves so that Reality can get at us, especially the Absolute Reality that we call God.

Contemplation is the most radical form of self-abandonment that I can imagine. It is most difficult if there is not a profound trust that there is Someone to whom I can be abandoned! Such self-forgetfulness paradoxically leads one to a firm and somewhat fearless sense of responsibility. Now I can risk responsibility precisely because I know the buck does not stop here. There is a co-creation going on, a life giving synergism that is found somewhere between surrender and personal responsibility, God fully “co-operating with those who love God” (Romans 8:28), as St. Paul says it.
— Richard Rohr: Adapted from Near Occasions of Grace