Tuesday, October 6, 2009


I wanted to discover a new room in my soul, but I found instead an old room suffering from neglect. I went to the country to pray—away from my office, from schedules and conversations and anxiety. I was going to build on an extension to my life: a new soul room that I could slip into when I needed a great deepening. I soon discovered it doesn’t work that way. The most praying I can say I have done is that I refrained from incessant working.

I sat quietly in an easy chair and gazed out into the meadow mindlessly. Was that prayer? I slowly cooked up a comfortable pot of soup. Was that praying? I read from the scriptures and from Eckhart Tolle’s book, The New Earth. I read slowly not trying to figure out the meaning of each sentence. I read as though I was walking though a garden keeping company with the plants and flowers. Was that prayer? I fed the donkey slices of apples and pears. Was that prayer? I sat by the pond and watched the mist rising up shrouding the old bench with a mystical ambience. Was that prayer? I sat in candle light trying to be present to the age-old mystery that ever so sweetly haunts me without end—always the mystifying haunting. Was that prayer?

I’m not sure—perhaps it doesn’t matter if I prayed or not. Perhaps prayer is simply connecting with the Source of my life. Perhaps I don’t have to build a new room for my soul after all. Perhaps the room has been here with me all the while just waiting to be discovered. Perhaps it is about being utterly present to WHAT IS without analyzing it or trying to own it. Perhaps it is about putting away my tools of production (on occasion) and just being with the mystery. Perhaps it is about not tying to figure out if I am praying or not; and I have been told that the truly wise ones pray even as they work.

©Macrina Wiederkehr


  1. Christ in us, the hope of glory, always present. I don't think it is supposed to be so hard, I think we are to BE with the Lord, waking, or sleeping, living or in death, always with Him, but not trying to do so, just being what we are, who we are created to be fully, abiding with Him.

  2. It sounds like lovely, lovely prayer to me. Thank you.

  3. I really identify with your first paragraph about the old room suffering from neglect. Perhaps our spiritual housework can never be completed - while we are working on one room, another is slowly, imperceptibly but inexorably gathering dust. It's just frustrating that the dust always seems to gather in the same damn corners each time!

    I hadn't realised you wrote a blog. Found you via your comment at Rebecca's site. Your book Seven Sacred Pauses has been close to my hand ever since you published it, and has been of enormous value to me. Thank you. (And thank you for including my blog in your list.)

  4. And then there as corporate America types that pray in the parking lot before going into the "chop wood" each day. I pause - do a Parking Lot Prayer (PLP) with my Benedictine books and then say "The light of God surrounds me and all is well"...

  5. Regarding "old room suffering from neglect" reminds me of the book "Sabbath" by Wayne Muller that I am reading, about setting a day or a bit of time each day for time-out from our day's activities for our mental, physical and spiritual well-being. Also your book, sevensacredpauses. Pausing is a room. Life can be so over-scheduled. I saw Thich Nhat Hanh recently reminding me "no where to go, nothing to do, the elements of happiness are already present, no hurry, wishlessness, kingdom of God within". Watching Thich Nhat Hanh and his monks inspired me by their being of mindfulness and presence. Perhaps that is prayer, too. Moment-to-moment choosing to be present is a prayer.

  6. I love the simplicity of your writing and the deepeness of your soul!