Here is a prayer from the Theosophist Annie Besant. I use it when the destructive behavior of my fellow human beings kills me with sorrow:

O Hidden Life! Vibrant in every atom;

O Hidden Light! Shining in every creature;

O Hidden Love! Embracing all in Oneness;

May each who feels himself as one with Thee,

Know he is also one with every other.

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross is best known as the medical doctor who brought death and dying out of the closet in American culture. She created a curriculum for medical students and sat with hundreds of dying people. Her faith in prayer is legendary. She says, "You will not grow if you sit in a beautiful flower garden, but you will grow if you are sick, if you are in pain, if you experience losses, and if you do not put your head in the sand, but take the pain as a gift to you with a very, very specific purpose." The only thing we can really ask for when we pray is the ability to trust in that greater purpose. We pray to have our hearts opened and our purpose revealed. We pray for gratitude when our life is good and for faith when it is not so good. We pray to trust that our pain is a gift with "a very, very specific purpose."

There is no right or wrong way to pray, and no one tradition that is favored in the heart of the Great Spirit. Vóclav Havel, the former Czech president and a man whose life has asked him to break open over and over again, expresses for me the true meaning of prayer. He says, "It is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense regardless of how it turns out." We will know if our prayers are working when we are blessed with that kind of certainty. The fruit of prayer is the realization that life is an eternal adventure, and that we are explorers, always changing, always learning, always breaking open into new vistas of clarity and peace.
Excerpted from BROKEN OPEN: How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow by Elizabeth Lesser. © 2004 by Elizabeth Lesser. Reprinted by arrangement with the Random House Publishing Group.


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