How to pray the prayer of the heart; A Poem

by Hilary Horn

By Rodney Marsh

Here follows a poem I wrote about my experience of learning the practice of Christian Meditation in the John Main tradition. This ‘mantra’ style of prayer was called by the Mothers and Fathers of the church ‘the prayer of the heart’. I practise two thirty-minute morning and evening periods of meditation each day. The books and writings of John Main provide a wonderfully practical guide to this practice (or explore


How to pray the prayer of the heart

Simply begin simply

Simply continue

End simply


Simply begin again

Continue simply

Simply end



Repeat again

Keep repeating

Until you arrive at where you are


You have always been where you are

and dwelt in this place

That has no past or future

Your home is here and now

where you are.


Now you have arrived at where you are

you realise you have never been anywhere else 

And now you know who you are

You realise you have always been you 

You are home now, and you are happy.


If you keep on with the practice

you can live at home all the time 

You will easily find your way back to where you are.

You will also get better at being real

when you visit the future (that doesn’t yet exist)

or the past (that has ceased to be)

You can be real in the past and future

if you take your home with you.


But if you fail to practice

returning to where you are

You will lose your way again and

wander alone, searching for home,

looking for who you are and where you are.

You will start looking for your self again

in the past or future where you aren’t.


If this happens

simply begin simply (again)

and you will return home to where you are.

This is your home and 

God is waiting to welcome you (always) where you are

And it is always a joy to come home and meet yourself for the first time (again).


So, like a rock or a tree or a human

Or anything that shares your being

Take your home with you, wherever you go

For here and now is the only place you can live –




*Acknowledgement “to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” T S Eliot


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