Prayer: A Bridge between Longing and Belonging

The following are excerpts on prayer are from John O’Donohue’s chapter entitled “Prayer: A Bridge between Longing and Belonging” (in his book, “Eternal Echoes“):

One of the most tender images is the human person at prayer. When the body gathers itself before the Divine, a stillness deepens… for a while [people coming together for prayer] have become unmoored from the grip of society, work, and role…

A person at prayer evokes the sense of vulnerability and fragility. Their prayer reminds us that we are mere guests on the earth, pilgrims who always walk on unsteady ground, carrying in earthen vessels multitudes of longing…

Prayer is an ancient longing; it has special light, hunger, and energy… it should not be reduced to the intermittent moments when we say prayers in words. Prayer is a deeper and more ancient conversation within us…

Prayer issues from and increases humility… prayer is not the monopoly of the pious; neither is it to be restricted to the province of those who are religious or spiritual…

Your true longing is to belong to the eternal that echoes continually in everything that happens to you…

Prayer is the art of presence. Where there is no wonder there is little depth of presence. The sense of wonder is one of the key sources of prayer… a sense of wonder can also help you to recognize and appreciate the mystery of your own life… Wonder, as a child of mystery, is a natural source of prayer…

Prayer is the voice of longing; it reaches outwards and inwards to unearth our ancient belonging. Prayer is the bridge between longing and belonging. Longing is always at its most intense in the experience of vulnerability…

The great thing about a community at prayer is that your prayer helps mine – and mine helps yours…

In prayer the forgiving tenderness of God gathers around our lives. God infects us with the desire for God… Real prayer has a vigilance that is constantly watching and deconstructing the human tendency towards idolatry.


Let me know how you are learning to bridge between longing and belonging.

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About R.H. (Rusty) Foerger

As I enter the third third of life, I am becoming aware of the role of elders today “to enlarge spiritual vision, being devoted to prayer, living in the face of death, as a living curriculum of the Christian life” (Dr. James M. Houston). I am a life long and life wide learner who seeks to: *decipher the enigma of our worth *rescue from the agony of prayerlessness *integrate spiritual friendship.
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