Foolish prayer

"Pray as you can, not as you can't"
Six years before he died, American philosopher William James filled out a questionnaire about religious experience. He was asked, among other things, “Do you pray?” His answer was forthright: “I can’t possibly pray. I feel foolish and artificial.” And yet James wrote, in The Varieties of Religious Experience, that prayer is “the very soul and essence of religion” and that in prayer “work is really done, and spiritual energy flows in and produces effects.” It’s well known that James longed to experience such effects in his own life, yet he remained trapped in his pragmatic corridor, generously holding open the door to prayer for others but unable to enter it himself.

 

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