‘We, ignorant of ourselves,
Beg often our own harms, which the wise powers
Deny us for our good; so find we profit
By losing of our prayers.’
[Antony & Cleopatra, 2.1.5-8]
All too often our prayers are no more than veiled wishes and, not knowing ourselves, we wish for our own harm. But if we put aside our wishes and prayers, a deeper listening can take place and with it a deeper harmony with all that surrounds us.
St. Paul in 1 Thessalonians (5.16) enjoins us to ‘pray
without ceasing.’ He follows this by saying, ‘In every thing give thanks,’ which gives us a clue as to how to interpret the former injunction. Paul is talking about a state of mind in which we cease to ask for anything, but instead look at the world through the eyes of gratitude.
Take Physic, Pomp!