Prayer of Quiet

I believe it’s especially important for those of us who are comfortable and privileged—whether we are white, financially secure, male, or have some other social “advantage”—to nurture a contemplative mind. Only through the eyes of the Divine Witness can we learn to see that to which we are mostly blind. Only when we are listening from the True Self, not the protective ego, can we hear the truth about ourselves and the unjust system in which we participate.

Christena Cleveland wrote recently about how hopelessness is actually a privilege. [1] Those of us who are well off and at ease have the luxury of feeling despair. It’s easy to look around at our dysfunctional politics, endemic racism, the unbalanced distribution of wealth, and climate change and become overwhelmed . . . and then disengaged. But those who are oppressed or connected intimately with systemic suffering have the greatest capacity—and sense the most urgency—for hope and for compassion.

As a white, educated, American clergyman, I realize I’m privileged on so many counts. From my own experience, I know I need a contemplative practice to rewire my mind. Some form of the prayer of quiet is necessary to touch me at the unconscious level, the level where deep and lasting transformation occurs. From my place of prayer, I am able to understand more clearly what is mine to do and have the courage to do it.

Unitive consciousness—the awareness that we are all one in Love—lays a solid foundation for social critique and acts of justice. I hope you will let God show you how to think and live in new ways, ways that meet the very real needs of our time on this planet.

[1] See Christena Cleveland’s blog, “The Privilege of Hopelessness,” December 15, 2015,