" 'I have so much to do,' wrote Martin Luther, 'that I cannot possibly get by on less than three hours of prayer a day.'

"The Dalai Lama prays for four hours every morning before his workday begins at 7:00 a.m.

"Mother Teresa ordered her nuns to pray for several hours every day — otherwise, she said, they wouldn't have the strength to do their work.

"I pray as I'm running errands. 'Help!' I whisper. That's much of the time: praying for strength and courage, for understanding or wisdom. I'm hanging on to the subway strap, asking to be quiet enough to listen, patient enough to wait for answers, sharp enough to notice the unexpected little messages or gifts that are scattered at my feet, in answer to my needs.

"Sometimes I make prayers of surrender or intercession for others who lie on my heart and mind. Sometimes I'm just asking for direction: 'Here I am . What do you want me to do next? How may I serve?'

"But sometimes my heart lifts up, rejoicing, and I am overcome by gratitude: 'Oh, how beautiful!' my soul cries out. This, too, is a kind of prayer, and now I'll let you in on a little secret about your soul and God. The universe responds to praise! It loves to be noticed, and when you receive its gifts with gratitude, it does cartwheels to send you more! You don't have to believe me; put it to the test. Try it out; see if it doesn't work for you. One day, when you are flushed with humility and gratitude, give in."