"To pray all ways is the unspoken admonition that is cleverly hidden in the spoken request of Jesus, 'Pray always.' To learn how to 'pray always' is to master the art of learning how to pray all ways and at all times," writes Edward Hays, one of the most imaginative souls ever to explore the full riches of a devotional life. He digs deep, sees all the wild possibilities, and lets in light from many directions. On these pages Hays gives us suggestions on ways to pray with the eyes, the nose, and our feet. He examines play as prayer, gift giving, suffering, simplicity, patience, fasting and feasting, napping and much more.
Here is a favorite passage of ours:
"Tears are the prayer-beads of all of us, men and women, because they arise from a fullness of the heart. Such an overflowing of the heart can be the result of great sorrow, but also of great joy. Tears appear as we listen to a moving speech in a play, while viewing a motion picture, while taking part in a departure of a friend, or when absorbed in some deeply moving religious experience. All expressions of the heart are good prayer. What happens naturally is usually good and also right."
We also enjoyed and agreed with the author's criticism of a life of hurry where we rush through everything and miss a lot as a result. Hays sees hurry as a hindrance to the holy. He shares this teaching story:
"The famous entertainer, Eddie Cantor, told a story about himself. As a young man he worked hard and long to be a star. His grandmother told him one day, 'Eddie, don't go too fast or you will miss the scenery.' But instead of listening to his wise grandmother, he continued the race to stardom. One night at the opening of a smash success show and after the final curtain when a large crowd of admirers surrounded him, he received a telegram. It was from his wife, Ida. The telegram told him that their fourth daughter had just been born. There, backstage, in the midst of all the excitement and the echoes of the applause, he remembered the words of his grandmother, 'You'll miss the scenery, Eddie.' From that moment he said that he always took time to pause and take in the scenery of life. He took time for what was truly important instead of what was merely necessary for success."
The Holy One surrounds us and beckons us to make a mystical connection. All we have to do is to pause, pay attention, and open ourselves by praying in all ways.