riffing on Richard Rohr

Richard Rohr has profoundly shaped my spirituality in recent years, along with Desmond Tutu, Barbara Brown Taylor and Madeleine L’Engle. But one of the ways Rohr has both challenged and freed me is his description of prayer.

I grew up thinking that prayer involved hands folded, eyes closed, head bowed and then all the words. Maybe, as my Catholic tradition taught, the words were set like The Our Father, Hail Mary or other liturgical prayers. Maybe, like the my Vineyard days modeled, prayer was free form words (with eyes open, hands upon others or open to heaven and ready to receive). Sometimes prayers even came in a different language all together. But prayer was always about words, in my experience.

But as I grew, words often felt insufficient for what I felt and inadequate to express my heart cry to God. Then I began to experience moments of connection with God that felt prayerful – like I’d been praying without words.

Rohr names that posture of prayer. It’s a state of communion, connection, love. It’s loving union. It’s a stance… nothing we can always reduce to a ‘left brain verbal thing.’

So can I pray like Jesus? Can I pray without ceasing? Freed from the shackles of verbal prayer only there is hope of living in a state of communion and connection with God that is incessant prayer.

I need the tangible in my prayer life… I also need the deeper mystery, the communion.


P.S. For those new to Richard Rohr, I highly recommend his book Everything Belongs on prayer and the life of contemplative living. Each time I read it I glean more truth and dive a bit deeper into prayer.

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3 thoughts on “riffing on Richard Rohr”

  1. Rusty
     ·  Reply

    Kelly, we ended our gatherings yesterday around small tables of the bread and cup, followed by communal prayer with each other. I kept my eyes open in my circle and watched people I did not know pray. It may have been the most mystical moment I have ever had in our faith community. Something about just being together in that little circle, holding hands with strangers, going to the creator in prayer. Always love Richards stuff, he has become my favorite read lately.

  2. julia
     ·  Reply

    i LOVE this. thanks for sharing. what a freeing/challenging thought.

  3. idelette
     ·  Reply

    You know I love Richard Rohr and I love this piece by Travis. Which means, I am in a state of prayer, as we speak, right? #connection

    Btw, I loved Rohr’s “A Lever and a Place to Stand” as a further discussion on prayer–the vehicle by which we connect to God in order to become transformed.

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