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Philip Larkin: Seeking Healing


Prayer is essential to developing a relationship with God. This book introduces a method of using poetry to deepen one’s prayer life. The introduction discusses the psychological aspects of poetry. Allow me to make a few suggestions regarding prayer.

The first suggestion is to make room for prayer in your life. It should take place at a scheduled time on a regular basis in a designated place. Arrange a sacred place in your home designated for prayer. Set a schedule and make every effort to keep to your schedule. It might take six weeks or more adjust to it, so be patient and persevere.

Another suggestion—preview the meditation before praying with it. It is a good idea to know ahead of time the content of the meditation. During prayer, you should read slowly; taking time to contemplate what you are reading and how it relates to you, your life and your relationship with others, including God. Pay special attention to words, phrases and ideas that stand out for you.

One more suggestion—examine the words, phrases or ideas that stand out for you. Discuss their relevancy in your journal. Conclude your journal entry with a resolution. This resolution is your “take-away” to further consider as you go about your day.

These meditations can also be used for group prayer. Group prayer would enable community to learn more about themselves as well as learn about the spiritual journey of community members.


Poetry is a form of literature that eludes definition. It is an art form that emerges from the pure human need to express oneself. Poetry that is used for healing and personal growth may be traced back to primitive man who used it in religious rites in which shamans chanted poetic prayers or incantations for the well-being of the group or individual. Ancient poems have been found on Sumerian wax tablets and Egyptian papyrus. The poetic music of a shepherd boy named David date to 1030 BC. It is of interest to note that the first hospital in the United States, Pennsylvania Hospital founded by Benjamin Franklin, employed treatments for their patients which included reading, writing and publishing their poems. Doctor Benjamin Rush, the father of American Psychiatry, included music and poetry as part of his treatments.

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