Practical Spiritual Experiments: Real Prayer
Peter Kreeft explains prayer as something both simpler - and more advanced - than we might think
What is real “prayer”?
How does prayer compare to meditation?
Philosopher and author Peter Kreeft explores these below, in passages taken from several of his books.
Prayer is easier than we think…
You do not have to master some mystical method. You do not have to master any method at all…
Prayer is so simple that no method at all is needed. For some people, methods of prayer are of some help. For other people, they are more of a hindrance than a help…
Why is that? Because a “method” means a “technique”, and a technique means a means to attain an end, a way of changing causes so as to change effects…”
Eastern religions rank meditation higher than prayer. Now meditation is a fine thing, and all of us could use a lot more of it in our hectic lives, but it is no substitute for prayer. For meditation is only within yourself; it is psychological. Prayer is between you and God; it is theological.
The superiority of prayer over meditation is also shown by the fact that there are techniques for meditation but not for prayer. Jesus did not give us a technique; he gave us a prayer, for prayer is from the heart, and the heart is foreign to techniques. “
Prayer is love. To love anyone is to seek his presence, to seek intimacy and union. (You do not love someone if you do not want to spend time with him.) Love is also communication. (You do no love someone if you do not want to talk with him and get to know him better.)
But love is to simple, too free, and too great for technology. There can be no technique for love, no “method” for loving.
…Can you talk to a friend? Then you can talk to God, for he is your Friend. And that is what prayer is…
…The single most important piece of advice about prayer is one word: Begin!
- passages taken from Prayer for Beginners and Fundamentals of the Faith