it is easy to see that a greater self-reliance must work a greater revolution in all the offices and relations of men; in their religion; in their education; in their pursuits; their modes of living; their association in their property; in their speculative views. all we do is an expression of all we are. in what prayers do men allow themselves! that which they call a holy office is not so much as brave and manly. prayer looks abroad and asks for some foreign addition to come through some foreign virtue, and loses itself in endless mazes of natural and supernatural. and mediatorial and miraculous.
the greatest tragedy is never knowing how to live from oneself. prayer that craves a particular commodity, anything less than all good, is vicious. when the persians prayed to their gods they prayed for the welfare of their state; never for the means of private ends. prayer is the contemplation of the facts of life from the highest point of view. it is the soliloquy of a beholding and jubilant soul. it is the spirit of mighty zeus pronouncing his works good. but prayer as a means to affect a private end is meanness and theft. cursed be those who live for their own welfare and their children. they suppose dualism and not unity in nature and consciousness. it is a great small world we live in.
as soon as the man is one with nature, he will not beg. he will then see prayer in all action. the prayer of the cyclist preserving the environment through his conscious; the prayer of the gardener bowing down, like a reed, to weed his land, the prayer of the vegan choosing a sustainable diet for man, are true prayers heard throughout nature, though for cheap ends. they benefit the whole of man. caratach, in fletcher’s bonduca, when admonished to inquire the mind of the god audate, replies: “his hidden meaning lies in our endeavors, our valors are our best gods.”