If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough. – Meister Eckhart
The Sufi mystic was a rebellious person. It happened this time that for three days they had no food, because every village they passed refused because they were not orthodox Mohammedans. They had joined a rebellious group of Sufis. They wouldn’t give them shelter for the night, they were sleeping in the desert. They were hungry, they were thirsty, and it was the third day. At the evening prayer, the mystic again said to existence, “I am so grateful. You have been doing so much for us and we cannot ever repay it.”
One of the disciples said, “This is too much. Now for three days please tell us what existence has done for us? For what are you thanking existence?”
The old man laughed. He said, “You are still not aware of what existence has done for us. These three days have been very significant for me. I was hungry, I was thirsty; we had no shelter, we were rejected, condemned. Stones were thrown at us, and I was watching within myself – no anger arose. I am thanking existence. Its gifts are invaluable. I can never repay them. Three days of hunger, three days of thirst, three days of no sleep, people throwing stones.and yet I have not felt any enmity, any anger, any hatred, any failure, any disappointment. It must be your mercy; it must be existence supporting me.
“These three days have revealed so many things to me which would not have been revealed if food had been given, reception had been given, shelter had been given, stones had not been thrown – and you are asking me for what I am thanking existence? I will thank existence even when I am dying, because even in death I know existence is going to reveal mysteries to me as it has been revealing in life, because death is not the end but the very climax of life.”
Prayer does not change God, but it changes him who prays. – Soren Kierkegaard