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Center for Action and Contemplation
The Path to Simplicity
The Path to Simplicity

Praying Simply 

Friday, May 3, 2024

Going to the deepest level of communication,  

Where back and forth has never stopped.  

Where I am not the initiator but the transmission wire itself. —Richard Rohr  

Episcopal priest and activist Adam Bucko describes a simple prayer practice that sustains him:  

One of the greatest lessons in my life about prayer came from a renegade rabbi who spent decades working on the streets of New York City rescuing kids from homelessness and prostitution—a holy man who dedicated his life to seeking God in the darkest shadows of Manhattan. He helped to make prayer real by giving me these simple instructions: “When you pray, talk to God just as if you were talking to your best friend. Tell the Holy One everything. Especially, dedicate specific times each day when you tell God about all your worries, all your hurts, all of your problems. Take off your mask and just speak. If you do that, if you really let your whole essence speak to God like that, some days there will be a lot of tears. But that’s a good thing. And when you are done telling God about your hurts, … just silently rest in God, letting God hold you. And then for the rest of the day practice joy and optimism knowing that you are God’s beloved child, knowing that you are loved, and knowing that you are carrying a great gift in your heart….”  

In some of the most difficult times in my life, this way of prayer is what saved me—telling God everything, crying with God, wrestling with God, and then when all is said and done, just resting in God, feeling loved into newness, feeling loved into aliveness and joy. [1]   

Father Richard lately has been enjoying a simple form of prayer he calls interlocution:   

God is the constant Interlocutor with the soul.  
This voice so constant and insistent, you do not know how to differentiate it from  
yourself.  YOU are so in charge here, that what you choose the voice to be, is what it is!
You are always calling the shots. 
YOU know this voice so much, you take it as a given and for granted.  
It cannot be taught, because teaching is about what you don’t know.  
You know this voice as your own interior dialogue about everything,
so it really cannot be taught. It can only be heard.  
When I can just stop and enjoy this interlocution, it is an ENJOYMENT.  
When I refuse to recognize or honor this voice, it is an ABSENCE.  
You really do not have to try hard, nothing perfect needs to be done.  
God leaves you (the soul) in charge of what it wants—all the way to heaven and hell.  
It is a rather total surrender on God’s part. And on yours!  
Why would you resist this?  
Why not let it be Love!  
For you and everything else. [2]   

[1] Adam Bucko, Let Your Heartbreak Be Your Guide: Lessons in Engaged Contemplation (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2022), 17–18.  

[2] Richard Rohr, morning meditation, February 26, 2024. Unpublished material. 

Image credit and inspiration: Benjamin Yazza, Untitled (detail), New Mexico, 2023, photo, used with permission. Click here to enlarge image. When we let go of anything other than what is right here, right now, we can fly. 

Story from Our Community:  

The meditation on April 9, “Practicing Sabbath” deepened my understanding of the Sundays of my childhood. After going to church, we would prepare a lovely roast lunch together at home. The guests at our table often included the wider family or friends. I learned the joy of cooking for loved ones. I never understood those seemingly ordinary Sundays as part of the practice of Sabbath. Today, I see those Sundays preparing food as a family practice of sacred rest, celebrating the joy of simply living. Thank you for this uplifting insight. —Beth H. 

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