Communion with the Divine

Some people worry a lot about how they should pray, still carrying notions from their early days about what prayers they are “supposed to” say. There is a beautiful comment about prayer in a new book by Robert Ellsberg (Modern Spiritual Masters: Writings on Contemplation and Compassion), which my friend Gerry brought to my attention:

“Begin, therefore, your day with prayer, and make it so soulful that it may remain with you until the evening. Close the day with prayer so that you may have a peaceful night free from dreams and nightmares. Do not worry about the form of prayer. Let it be any form; it should be such as can put us into communion with the divine.”

Back in March, I posted a poem by Mary Oliver that captures the same notion. The aim here is simply communication with our God. Whatever words (or non-words) “put us into communion with the divine” are enough. They don’t have to be pretty, they don’t have to follow a formula, they don’t have to do anything, except open us to presence and love of our God. As Oliver expressed so beautifully in her poem: “this isn’t a contest but the doorway into thanks, and a silence in which another voice can speak.”