Cover image for Natural prayers
Natural prayers
Raymo, Chet.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Saint Paul, Minn. : Hungry Mind Press, [1999]

Physical Description:
xv, 212 pages ; 22 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BL240.2 .R355 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



A scientist with a love for the natural world discusses his spiritual journeyof relearning how to pray by watching attentively for the light that burns atthe center of life to find the extraordinary in the commonplace.

Author Notes

Chet Raymo is a professor of physics and astronomy at Stonehill College in Massachusetts

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Raymo, a science columnist for the Boston Globe and a professor of physics and astronomy, continues the inquiry into the interface between faith and science that he began in Skeptics and True Believers (1998) in this blend of ecology and poetry. Determined to usher his readers into the "new scientific cosmology," in which God is not seen as hovering above his creations but as revealed within nature itself, Raymo attempts to answer the question, How do we pray to such a faceless, all-encompassing force? His answer? By paying close and appreciative attention to the universe. To that end, he offers a breviary of "meditations inspired by mindfulness to the natural world," meditations informed not by mysticism but by scientific knowledge, a source of infinite wonder when articulated in writing as clarion and knowledgeable as Raymo's. Using the three places he calls home as touchstones--the Bahamas, New England, and Ireland--Raymo does, indeed, inspire awe with his descriptions of myriad manifestations of life, from fusion to ants, orchids, microbes, frogs, birds, and hedgerows. --Donna Seaman

Publisher's Weekly Review

"All of my life has been a relearning to prayÄa letting go of incantational magic, petition, and the vain repetition `Me, Lord, me,' instead watching attentively for the light that burns at the center of every star, every cell, every living creature, every human heart." To that end, Raymo (365 Starry Nights) offers a beautiful breviary of his moments of deep attention to the natural world, set in three different landscapes, following the moon cycles of a year. This professor of physics and astronomy (at Stonehill College in Massachusetts) and Boston Globe columnist divides his year between Massachusetts, the island of Exuma in the Bahamas and the west of Ireland. Each short section in the book links an observation of nature with a profound question or rumination that is rendered in the complementary terms of science and poetry or literature. Raymo is struck by the interconnection of all life while, for example, watching ants maneuver a dead moth across a porch in the Bahamas. He tracks the sun's energy down to the moth and the antsÄenergy that is born when protons fuse at the center of Sol. Raymo nails our sense that sun, energy and matter are one with Dylan Thomas's famous line, "The force that through the green fuse drives the flower." Celebrating the moon or dragonflies, Virginia Woolf or Thoreau, Raymo shows how scientific observation can become worship. As appealing and accessible as Lewis Thomas's Lives of a Cell, this marvelous book demonstrates how prayer can be a "meditation on the world, informed by knowledge, open to mystery." (July) FYI: In 1998, Raymo won a Lannan Literary Award. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Introductionp. xi
Winter Solsticep. 3
Groundhog Dayp. 29
New England
Vernal Equinoxp. 57
May Dayp. 83
Summer Solsticep. 109
Lammasp. 135
New England
Autumn Equinoxp. 161
Halloweenp. 185