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A secret prayer.

Eddie Mair | 13:17 UK time, Thursday, 26 November 2009

cross.jpgRecently, we asked listeners about secrets they keep from their partners.

A card has arrived which says: "My hidden practice is to pray every night after I have thought about the past day with special regard to the things that have gone well. Mostly I pray for my family and a few friends I know have troubles. In these times, I would be embarrassed if my family or anyone else knew I did this."



  • 1. At 1:43pm on 26 Nov 2009, Lady_Sue wrote:

    What a lovely sentiment and thing to do. Nothing wrong with a bit of reflection and, from another R4 programme on recently ('All In the Mind'?), it is extremely good therapy to list positive things that have happened or have been achieved each day. It helps us to acknowledge happiness.

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  • 2. At 1:45pm on 26 Nov 2009, Big Sister wrote:

    It IS sad that people feel they can't openly admit to praying. Our society today is, by and large, rather cynical about religion and religious practices.

    Tomorrow I'm going to a funeral. I welcome the opportunity to say a last goodbye to an old friend and to join with others in words which have provided comfort at times of distress.

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  • 3. At 1:51pm on 26 Nov 2009, Lady_Sue wrote:

    By co-incidence, tomorrow I'm going to a wedding and it will be a chance to join with others to celebrate a happy event.

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  • 4. At 2:06pm on 26 Nov 2009, U14138029 wrote:

    I'm pleased to hear that they now have 'Dial-a-Prayer' for atheists.
    You call up and it rings and rings but nobody answers.

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  • 5. At 2:09pm on 26 Nov 2009, Lady_Sue wrote:

    May I have the number Preston?

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  • 6. At 2:12pm on 26 Nov 2009, Big Sister wrote:

    Very good, Preston - though I confess I've heard it before.

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  • 7. At 3:33pm on 26 Nov 2009, darkdesign wrote:

    Cynicism about religion is well-justified, sadly. To me, the sentiment expressed on that card is the positive side of spiritual belief, something personal that might give a life more meaning. I found it touching. Although a non-believer, I am only too happy to share space with folk who hold such views. What disinclines me and others to religious belief is (apart from the obvious) the behaviour of those that cannot share that same space without demanding that everyone else conform to their way of looking at things. If that was not happening, the writer of that card might feel more comfortable about telling others of their personal faith.

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  • 8. At 4:04pm on 26 Nov 2009, U14138029 wrote:

    Lady Sue (5) - Sorry, I'm not permitted to pass it on - it's ex-directory.

    Big Sister (6) - How very dare you?! Would I ever utter anything that is not truly original and all my own work? As God is my judge!

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  • 9. At 4:42pm on 26 Nov 2009, davmcn wrote:

    BS 2, There is a prayer board at the Cathedral where anybody can post a prayer. They are taken down and handed out to members to take home and pray about.

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  • 10. At 11:21pm on 26 Nov 2009, LovelyLadyPen wrote:

    Funny, this. I was a reading something in a book today about an artist who'd invited all the visitors to an exhibition of which he was part (oh dear this sentence is becoming a bit convoluted) to write down their most secret secret. Anonymously.

    Having collated all the responses - nearly 2000, I think - he decided that most people's most secret secrets are the same.

    (Well most people who go to the sort of exhibitions he was exhibiting in, praps.)

    Am sure Laurie Taylor (Thinking Allowed, R4) has a study he could refer to and would love to discuss . . .

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  • 11. At 10:15am on 27 Nov 2009, APM72 wrote:

    I completely understand where you're coming from with this. I have no idea whether to call myself an agnostic, an atheist, a latent Christian, or even a token Jew. My problem is this: my mother is Jewish (a Holocaust survivor) and a devout atheist. The very word "religion" makes her grind her teeth - understandably so, given what she went through. My father was very religious but, due to various circumstances which he also endured over the course of his life, has had his faith beaten out of him. I have frequent open and tolerant conversations with my Evangelical Christian friends, and there is a side of me which absolutely yearns to be a Christian. BUT...I don't know what my atheist mother or world-beaten father would make of it. And I'm fascinated by Richard Dawkins' Gold Delusion. Where does that leave me? It leaves me entering churches (usually as a tourist) with a sense of respect for others' beliefs but also a slight emptiness, knowing that I don't - or can't - share them.

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  • 12. At 12:17pm on 27 Nov 2009, Big Sister wrote:

    Having just returned from a lovely funeral service and found myself in the company of 100+ locals, all of whom wanted to pay their respects, I'm bound to say that there didn't seem to be any reluctance to pray for the soul of the good man who has just been buried. It heartened me, I have to say.

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  • 13. At 12:35pm on 27 Nov 2009, Redheylin wrote:

    And when you pray, you should not be like hypocrites
    for they love to pray in temples and on street-corners
    so that people will see them.
    I tell you truly; they get their reward.
    But you, when you pray, go into your chamber
    and when you have shut your door, pray.....

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  • 14. At 1:52pm on 27 Nov 2009, Big Sister wrote:

    I'm sure, Red (13) that many people have prayed in secret for the soul of this good man (12). There are times, though, for collective prayer, and I am certain there were few, if any, hypocrites at the service this morning.

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  • 15. At 2:21pm on 27 Nov 2009, lucien desgai wrote:

    I'm glad that it was a good and well attended service, and that you've been able to comfort from it.

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  • 16. At 2:30pm on 27 Nov 2009, Big Sister wrote:

    Thank you, Lucien. I've spilled a lot of tears today, and your comment is very welcome.

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  • 17. At 5:08pm on 27 Nov 2009, davmcn wrote:

    APM 11, Forget the Evangelicals and join the C of E. They let you do pretty much anything you want and don't push Jeeeee-sus on you.

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  • 18. At 6:57pm on 27 Nov 2009, Redheylin wrote:

    14 Far be it from me to let Jesus get in the way of a good church.

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  • 19. At 1:32pm on 28 Nov 2009, Scotch Git wrote:



    It may not answer your questions, but it's still a very good read. Indeed, I would recommend it to everyone who has even a passing interest in Jews and/or Judaism.

    'This Is My God' - Herman Wouk

    Please forgive my presumptuousness.

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