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Saturday, August 09, 2014

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Hello Bill,

Good post. Clearly, saying is not identical to asserting, nor is praying identical. As you know, one might also note the distinction between assertions and propositions: an assertion is an act that refers to a subject and predicates something of that subject; a proposition is the meaning-content of or meaning-bearer behind the corresponding assertion.

But praying can include entreaty, and entreaty can imply assertion and thus meaning.

I agree that the contemplation of God is a form of prayer. This form as such may lack explicit entreaty and assertion. But in one who desires harmony with God, as Emerson’s praying man does, contemplation can lead to recognition of and gratitude for God’s goodness, and to a specific type of entreaty. The man might entreat God to make him whole (wise, good, etc). This entreaty implies assertions -- with corresponding meanings -- such as “I recognize the greatness of God”, “I recognize the value of this recognition”, “I am grateful”, “I desire harmony with God”, and “I desire wholeness”. For example, the man may assert his desire to understand as God does and to will as God wills, insofar as this is possible.

Consider the second line of the Pater Noster (Mt. 6:10). Jesus teaches his students to pray “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”. This line suggests some thought-provoking points: that God's will is not done on earth *in the same way* that it’s done in heaven; that God wills that we will what he wills; that man should recognize these points; and that man should desire harmony with God in mind and will.

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