Posts Tagged ‘prayer’

Prayer Station

August 12, 2017

A strange art exhibition in Farnham Parish Church entitled Prayer Station.

The idea is, if I understood it correctly, to pause and reflect, meditate, at each prayer station. Each prayer station being a collection of objects.

One was ribbons, one  an assortment of objects, another a labyrinth (only it wasn’t).

The first prayer station shoes scattered on the floor. Somewhat dumb, walking into a gloomy church from bright sunlight, not seen. Ideal trip hazard. A nasty accident waiting to happen.

There was also a couple of paintings, that lacked titles or attributed to any artist. Whether part of Prayer Station was not clear though appeared to be part of the exhibition by association.

Labyrinths were quite common with Medieval churches not to be confused with a maze.

A labyrinth was an aid to meditation

You, who they call Lord

March 30, 2014

You, who I can feel deep inside my soul.
You, who has created this world.

When I look into the microcosmos, in the macrocosmos, everywhere I find you.
I sense your greatness.

You, who they call Lord,
who they call Father,
who they call Allah,
who they call Jahwe,
You, who is there.

Who is with us. Who walks with us.
The older I become, the more I can call you friend.
You are the friend of my life, who loves me and who called me to carry your message to the people.
Thank you.

I want to ask for everyone who is here today, to feel some of God’s Greatness and His love, who wants us, who loves us.
Jesus Christ showed us a way which we can walk together.
In spite of everything and everyone, we can find ways together,
seek and find ways which will gift us with a better and more beautiful life.

Paulo has written that he is searching for the sense in his life.
And while searching he went across new paths, wrong tracks and detours, like the all of us.

Let’s keep on looking for you in the humans beings that are present in our path.


— Abbot Burkhard

Abbot Burkhard is Abbott Emeritus at the Benedictine Abbey at Melk.

It is a tradition of Paulo Coelho that he marks St Joseph Day with a party with his friends. Abbot Burkhard is one of his friends. The evening will always have prayers in many languages, many traditions, starting with Portuguese led by Paulo Coelho.

This prayer by Abbot Burkhard, translated from German by Nayla, is from Istanbul.

Synchronicity: The day after Festa de São José I was in Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Assunção talking to the Parish Priest. I mentioned this prayer by Abbot Burkhard. One week and one day later, Paulo Coelho in a tweet, referenced this prayer on his blog.


June 7, 2012
Prayer is not an old woman's idle amusement ...

Prayer is not an old woman’s idle amusement …

Prayer is not an old woman’s idle amusement. Properly understood and applied, it is the most potent instrument of action.

— Mahatma Gandhi

Praying for everyone

April 18, 2012


A farm labourer with a sick wife, asked a Buddhist monk to say a series of prayers. The priest began to pray, asking God to cure all those who were ill.

‘Just a moment,’ said the farm labourer. ‘I asked you to pray for my wife and there you are praying for everyone who’s ill.’

‘I’m praying for her too.’

‘Yes, but you’re praying for everyone. You might end up helping my neighbour, who’s also ill, and I don’t even like him.’

‘You understand nothing about healing,’ said the monk, moving off. ‘By praying for everyone, I am adding my prayers to those of the millions of people who are also praying for their sick.

‘Added together, those voices reach God and benefit everyone. Separately, they lose their strength and go nowhere.’

Posted by Paulo Coelho on his blog.

8.000.000 on Facebook: prayer or oração or oracíon

April 4, 2012

He cannot be well known can he? Or he is not popular. – Waterstone’s Guildford

eight million

eight million

August of last year I asked in Waterstone’s in Guildford why Aleph by Paulo Coelho was not chalked up on their board of new releases.

The reply was unbelievable:

He cannot be well known can he? Or he is not popular.

I walked out in disgust.

Aleph was published September 2011. It was not on display in Waterstone’s.

Paulo Coelho in Waterstone’s and the author the publisher forgot

The paperback edition of Aleph came out last month. Again not on display in Waterstone’s.

Aleph now out in paperback!

Aleph is currently published in 74 countries, Paulo Coelho the most translated living writer.

Bookshops in Bassano del Grappa were a breath of fresh air, especially Libreria Palazzo Roberti, a former palace where Napoleon once slept the night.

Bookshops in Bassano del Grappa

On Sunday Paulo Coelho passed 8 million friends on facebook. Not bad for a writer not well known or not popular!

By common consensus Paulo Coelho has proposed the following for 6pm local time today (Wednesday 4 April 2012):

This past Sunday, when I asked for your suggestions on how we should celebrate reaching 8.000.000 friends on Facebook, the vast majority of you suggested we should say a prayer at a particular time.

Therefore, on Wednesday, April 4, at 6:00 PM (always your local time) I encourage you to say a prayer.

In my prayer, I will ask:

A] For myself. May God guide me and inspire me for the years to come.
B] For my family and friends on Facebook. May God allow all of them to follow their call, their Personal Legend.
C] For my work. May I always be an instrument of the Light.

As we are in different time zones, I strongly believe that the Planet will be filled with light and prayers during 24 hr.

If you don’t feel comfortable with praying, a random act of kindness during the day will certainly be very helpful to humankind.

I will attend an evening service at St Mark’s. It will not be 6pm but a little later. I will light a candle (maybe more) for Canon Andrew White (for his work in Iraq), for Paulo Coelho (thanks for his writing and the wonderful St Joseph’s Day party at which I was his guest last month), Mio Baba (for a wonderful three days together in Bassano del Grappa). I will donate a book to the church library.

Please join us. Tell your friends. A 24 hour wave of prayer and kindness will roll around the world.

The prayer that I forgot

November 16, 2011

I was out walking one day in São Paulo, when a friend – Edinho – handed me a pamphlet entitled Sacred Moment. Printed in four colours, on excellent paper, with no mention of any particular church or religion, this pamphlet bore only a prayer on its reverse side.

Imagine my surprise when I saw the name of the author of this prayer – ME! It had been published in the early eighties on the inside cover of a book of poetry. I did not think it would stand the test of time, nor that it would return to my hands in such a mysterious way; but when I re-read it, I did not feel ashamed of what I had written.

Because it appeared in that pamphlet and because I believe in signs, I felt it only right to reproduce it here. I hope it encourages every reader to write a prayer of their own, asking for themselves and for others the things that they judge to be most important. That way we place a positive vibration in our heart which touches everything around us.

Here is the prayer:

Lord, protect our doubts, because Doubt is a way of praying. It is Doubt that makes us grow because it forces us to look fearlessly at the many answers that exist to one question. And in order for this to be possible …

Lord, protect our decisions, because making Decisions is a way of praying. Give us the courage, after our doubts, to be able to choose between one road and another. May our YES always be a YES and our NO always be a NO. Once we have chosen our road, may we never look back nor allow our soul to be eaten away by remorse. And in order for this to be possible …

Lord, protect our actions, because Action is a way of praying. May our daily bread be the result of the very best that we carry within us. May we, through work and Action, share a little of the love we receive. And in order for this to be possible …

Lord, protect our dreams, because to Dream is a way of praying. Make sure that, regardless of our age or our circumstances, we are capable of keeping alight in our heart the sacred flame of hope and perseverance. And in order for this to be possible …

Lord, give us enthusiasm, because Enthusiasm is a way of praying. It is what binds us to the Heavens and to Earth, to grown-ups and to children, it is what tells us that our desires are important and deserve our best efforts. It is Enthusiasm that reaffirms to us that everything is possible, as long as we are totally committed to what we are doing. And in order for this to be possible …

Lord, protect us, because Life is the only way we have of making manifest Your miracle. May the earth continue to transform seeds into wheat, may we continue to transmute wheat into bread. And this is only possible if we have Love; therefore, do not leave us in solitude. Always give us Your company, and the company of men and women who have doubts, who act and dream and feel enthusiasm, and who live each day as if it were totally dedicated to Your glory.


Published by Paulo Coelho on his blog.

Does it matter how we pray?

May 25, 2011

Do we kneel, our head bowed, our hands together, our eyes closed? Or do we stand, wave our arms about and shout in an egotistical display for all the world to see? Or do we as in the Russian Orthodox, stand in silent prayer? Or do we as a devout Muslim, five times a day, lay prostrate on the ground facing Mecca?

To pray is to communicate with an Infinite Being. To communicate implies a two-way dialogue.

Too often we make demands, when these are not met, we go off in a huff, get in a strop.

We would do well to heed the advice of St Benedict: Listen, listen to your Master. The Master in this case was the Abbot.

We need to learn to listen, to be patient.

At Alton Abbey, visitors will go away with three or more books on how to pray. They would be best served in devoting their time in prayer, not reading the books.

The Jesus Prayer can be used as as mantra, an aid to meditation, but there is a danger if we do this without a spiritual guide.

There are too many churches where one is greeted on arrival as though a long lost friend, but it is a false sense of friendship, there is no depth, no sense of community.

Alton Abbey has a congregation of about ninety people. They do not all turn up at once which is fortunate as the church is only small. They turn up because they are made welcome, they find they are members of a community.

The follow up discussion descended into a discussion on the format of church services.

At a St Joseph’s Day Party in Istanbul, Paulo Coelho invited everyone to join him in prayer. It was not an obligation, but if you did participate he asked that it came from your soul. He asked everyone to join hands. It was a very moving experience.

I spent three weeks in the spring, of which nearly every day I visited an old Spanish colonial church. At the same time I would sit in the plaza reading By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept. I tried a technique described in the book. To sit very quietly and open ones mind. I was amazed at what happened. I discussed this with Father Dom Giles Hill. He said yes, now try it with a group of people.

A special thanks to Dom Giles Hill, former Abbot of Alton, for the talk he gave at St Nicolas, Guildford, 8pm Wednesday 25 May 2011.

St Nicolas Church by the River Wey, is one of the oldest churches in Guildford

Alton Abbey is an Anglican Benedictine Monastery in the beautiful Hampshire village of Beech, just outside Alton.

‘I Thirst’

April 20, 2011

I Thirst

After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), ‘I thirst’. A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. — John 19:28-30

‘I Thirst’, according to the Gospel of John (John 19:28), these were the last words Jesus cried out on the cross before he died.

It was during his time as parish priest at St Wilfred’s in Chichester during the late 1980s, early 1990s, that the church acquired a new cross. It was from reflecting on the cross and a sermon Stephen Cottrell gave the following Good Friday there grew a series of meditations on the cross.

Lent is a period of reflection, of spiritual renewal. This is often forgotten when we hear people telling us what they have given up for Lent. Are they really renewed because they have given up chocolate for a few weeks? No doubt to then pig on a chocolate Easter Egg.

Lent is supposed to be a time when we review our spiritual life, think about what what it means to be a follower of Christ, reset the compass of our discipleship, and prepare ourselves to celebrate the Easter festival. But often we just give up biscuits.

It is a monastic tradition lectio divinato (divine reading) to read a passage from scripture out loud, then in the silence that follows to speak out a word or phrase, then mediate upon what has been read.

It is in that tradition that Stephen Cottrell asks that you read and meditate upon ‘I Thirst’, appropriately subtitled The Cross – The Great Triumph of Love.

N T Wright, The Challenge of Jesus:

The cross is the surest, truest and deepest window on the very heart and character of the living and loving God; the more we learn about the cross, in all its historical and theological dimensions, the more we discover about the one in whose image we are made, and hence about our own vocation to be the cross-bearing people, the people in whose lives and services the living God is known.

Essential reading for Easter.

Passover supper
Holy Week
The First Easter Week Musing
Quema de Palmitos
Ash Wednesday
The Cross

Conversations with Meister Eckhart

April 10, 2011

Imaginary conversation with Meister Eckhart using his actual words.

In many ways, Meister Eckhart has had to wait seven centuries to be heard. Born in 13th century Germany, much of his life was spent in a monastery; though not all. The Meister in his name means Master, and is an academic title from the University of Paris. An admired member of the Dominican Order, he was often sent to reform ailing priories. He was known also as a spiritual counsellor; a safe haven for many who sought God in their life, but found themselves troubled by the dire state of the institutional church. And in a century of flowering female spirituality, he was a supportive figure for many Dominican nuns and women in the burgeoning lay communities which arose.

He was best known, however, as a preacher an original preacher who used his native German language to startling effect. Eckhart preached a spiritual vision which distrusted the artifice of both ritual and church dogma. Instead, he aimed at nothing less than the spiritual and psychological transformation of those given to his care. To this end, Eckhart made the disposition of the human heart the key to all things.

Conversations with Meister Eckhart is an imagined conversation with this 13th century mystic, around such themes as detachment, which he famously placed above love; spirituality, God, the soul and suffering. But while the conversation is imagined, Eckharts words are not; they are authentically his own.

One of his controversial claims was that God cannot be described. Indeed, in one sermon, he went so far as to say We must take leave of God. The church became very hostile towards him, says Simon Parke, accusing him of heresy; and he spent his last days on trial before the pope. They also tried to ensure hed be forgotten when he died, and nearly succeeded. But hes more popular now than ever.

Eckhart’s teaching is an adventure, not a system; a call, not a creed. The depth and universality of his work means it can be contained by no established religion, but draws to itself seekers of truth from all backgrounds. Here we have a teaching open to all, but possessed by none, says Simon Parke. And therefore free like a butterfly, in the garden of the soul. Its perhaps my most challenging and rewarding conversation.

Five million friends on facebook!

April 4, 2011
five million friends on facebook

five million friends on facebook

As we are in different time zones, I strongly believe that the Planet will be filled with light and prayers during 24 hr. If you don’t feel confortable with praying, a random act of kindness during the day will certainly be very helpful to this humankind. — Paulo Coelho

On Friday 1 April 2011, Paulo Coelho posted a video on facebook saying that within the next few days he expected to exceed 5 million friends on facebook. And no, it was not an April Fool’s story. He asked for ideas on how to celebrate the occasion. He suggested a prayer and maybe a collaborative project.

Oh My God, thought I. It was only last autumn when he reached four million!

I went back and checked and found that I was wrong. Last autumn it was three million. Which makes it all the more amazing. [See Paulo Coelho hits 3,000,000 friends on Facebook]

This morning Paulo Coelho announced that he will, as he did when he reached three million, mark it with a day of pray. [see 5.000.000 in Facebook: prayer + contest]

Last Autumn I was looking at the Sistine Tapestries by Raphael. As I left the V&A I asked was there a church nearby and I was directed to the Brompton Oratory. I marked the event by attending the evening mass in Latin. [see Trip to London to the V&A to see the Sistine Tapestries]

Paulo Coelho is asking that we do the same again. That we say a prayer at 1800 local time on Wednesday 6 April 2011. You do not have to say a prayer, but if not and wish to participate, then please carry out an act of random kindness.

Paulo has also as the collaborative project launched a competition to produce a video to mark the publication of his latest book O Aleph (Elif in Turkey). There is a monetary prize and a HP computer to be won. If Paulo does not like any of the entries, then the money will be donated to the Paulo Coelho Institute. All entries to be posted on YouTube with the title Aleph by (fill in name of the producer). More details of this to be found on his blog. [see 5.000.000 in Facebook: prayer + contest]

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