I was raised through the ritual of prayer. When I reached university I discovered the belief prevalent within artistic communities that the burden of religion suppresses life. Influenced by that belief, I rejected prayer—and fell away from life. Then, I forsook that rejection. Religion is a burden. But, it is a majestic burden. And majesty is weightless. So, I prayed my way back into my life, back into my art.

My art has an abiding power because I pray. I rejoice through prayer, grieve through prayer, act through prayer. My art rejoices. My art grieves. My art acts. My art and my prayer have become synonymous with each other. It is why I may never be fully a part of an artistic community, even though I am deeply artistic. It is my Wilde penance. My sorrow. My prayer.


There is a multitude that prays. And there are those who attempt to suppress that prayer by criticizing it as useless. It is thought that “thoughts and prayers” reveal a blasé attitude not only to the event or person being prayed for but to action as well. Yet, some also criticize Art as useless. I am hesitant to describe prayer and Art as useless. Both Art and prayer can have practical and useful outcomes. Instead, I speak of stillness. And that stillness of Art of prayer swaddles those who experience it within an abiding participation of life.

The oratory of President Barak Hussein Obama pervades prayer. This was especially true when he spoke at the National Day of Prayer Breakfast at the Washington Hilton on February 4, 2016:

I pray that our leaders will always act with humility and generosity.  I pray that my failings are forgiven.  I pray that we will uphold our obligation to be good stewards of God’s creation — this beautiful planet.  I pray that we will see every single child as our own, each worthy of our love and of our compassion.  And I pray we answer Scripture’s call to lift up the vulnerable, and to stand up for justice, and ensure that every human being lives in dignity.

The president came to that prayer after alluding to and partially quoting the despair of Abraham Lincoln. Here is Lincoln’s quote in full:

I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had no where else to go. My own wisdom and that of all about me seemed insufficient for that day.

From the point of despair, to the point of prayer. From the point of stillness, to the point of action. Prayer and its Art.


By defending the prayerful art, I am defending the diversification of expression.


Prayers are offered across the religious spectrum and are specifically and culturally expressed. Some pray to a godhead. Some pray to a divinity. Some pray to a higher realm of consciousness. By suppressing prayer, diversity is suppressed. Art becomes monotone selfishly shriveling into itself away from the other, away from beauty. Deepened in the soul, Art is religious expression. Art is prayer. To come in contact with the paradox of the soul, the human relation to the other, the artist must plead, must remember, the beautiful through prayer.

To reject the other is to reject the depth is to reject the cultural diversity within community is to reject Art. In the depth of prayer, Art expresses the despair, the joy, of community.

Prayer is the communicative reverence to the divine (the other) that pervades all religions. Speak of God; speak of the Creator; speak of Allah; speak of Brahman; speak of Nirvana: it is the communication with the unknown; the faith of the unknown; the strange hope of the unknown. Art envelopes that very secret and expresses it with fear and boldness. Its prayer is its active participation within it.


Prayer is active stillness—a stillness that moves; Art moves within that stillness.


When I pray, when I create, I magnify mystery: the diversification of expression.


The artist salivates at the secret and envelopes it, enveloping the unknown.


Prayer succumbs to the secret and shapes the unknown.


Without prayer, without Art, community loses a form of cultural expression.


Without Art, without prayer, I am the still zephyr of anarchy, the dissolution of nothingness.


Art and its prayer: the ancient cry toward divinity: the finite expressed infinitely.