I occasionally ask friends who are of a religious bent if prayer is always in the form of a conversation with God. Does prayer ever have any other form? Is any other form possible? Some are surprised by the very question, that obviously prayer is a conversation, always a conversation—by definition prayer is expressing our appreciation, our praise, our desires, our will to do better. How else could we do this except in words?
If so, then I am not a praying man.
But if walking along a mowed path through a field of shimmering goldenrod and drifting milk weed seed under a bright dome of deep blue sky, in full awe of the power in life, if that is also prayer, then I pray like a monk.
I thought perhaps my question was too new-wave to be serious, but this short poem in a recent New Yorker, validates both forms:
“Prayer” by Lia Purpura. The New Yorker, 11/19/2012
a spot of sun,
bar sign, label
light where you
Or a name
of a subway car
that only makes sense
when you say it aloud
in your head
as it passes.