“This is what you shall do: Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to everyone that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown, or to any man or number of men—go freely with powerful uneducated persons, and with the young, and with the mothers of families—re-examine all you have been told in school or church or in any book, and dismiss whatever insults your own soul; and your very flesh shall be a great poem, and have the richest fluency, not only in its words, but in the silent lines of its lips and face, and between the lashes of your eyes, and in every motion and joint of your body.”
“Why do I keep relating to you as one of my many relationships, instead of my only relationship, in which all other ones are grounded ? Why do I keep looking for popularity, respect from others, success, acclaim, and sensual pleasures? Why, Lord, is it so hard for me to make you the only one? Why do i keep hesitating to surrender myself totally to you?
Help me, O Lord, to let my old self die, to let die the thousand big and small ways in which i am still building up my false self and trying to cling to my false desires. Let me be reborn in you and see through you the world in the right way, so that all my actions, words, thoughts can become a hymn of praise to you. I need your loving grace to travel on this hard road that leads to the death of my old self and to a new life in and for you. I know and trust that this is the road to freedom. Lord, dispel my mistrust and help me become a trusting friend.
~Henri Nouwen, A Cry For Mercy: Prayers From the Genesee
“Prayer is the experience of knowing that God is the source of everything we claim as our own. To pray is to say with Jesus, “Not my will, but yours. Not my words, but yours. Not my worth, but yours. Not my glory, but yours. Not in my name, but in yours.”
“If we think about prayer in terms of its usefulness to us – what prayer will do for us, what spiritual benefits we will gain, what insights we will gain, what divine presence we may feel – God cannot easily speak to us. But if we can detach ourselves from the idea of usefulness of prayer and the results of prayer, we become free to “waste” a precious hour with God in prayer. Gradually, we may find, our “useless” time will transform us, and everything around us will be different.”