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Devra Torres

On Prayer, Both Second-Hand and Spontaneous

Aug. 16, 2012, at 1:16pm

Whose words should we use when we pray? Someone else’s--a psalmist's, a saint's, the Liturgy's--or our own?  

All of the above.  But there are pitfulls, whether the prayer is the kind you memorize and recite

 or the spontaneous variety.  

Jen Fulwiler, a convert from atheism, was trying to get the hang of praying the Divine Office.  At first, it didn’t seem to be working for her—this recitation of someone else’s words. She was reading Psalm 143:

The enemy pursues my soul;
he has crushed my life to the ground;
he has made me dwell in darkness
like the dead, long forgotten.
Therefore my spirit fails;
my heart is numb within me.

I was having a great day and feeling strong in my

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