In his book In Silence: Why We Pray, author Donald Spoto notes that the only legitimate form of prayer in the Western scriptural tradition (Judaism, Christianity, Islam) is, minimally, the prayer of abandonment. Only thusly can the notion of projecting human desires on God and claiming God’s sanctions for our personal and cultural demands — especially the hollow claims that God is on one’s side — be firmly and completly laid to rest. Abandonment means no presumptions of God’s will. It means affirmation of mystery, that catch-word for what it is we perceive but do not know. In this sense, abandonment of ego (of both the culture and of the self) is affirmation of mystery, which is the beginning of wisdom.

In the concept of a prayer of abandonment, wherein no demands are made and one abandons oneself to providence, we throw off not certitude but contingent attitudes and objects. We rely only on what is universal and not subject to contingency, even if we are not able to articulate this. We abandon false and presumptuous attitudes and claims to this or that possession or condition, knowing that we will discover in the simplicity of abandonment a revealing of all that truly matters.