Traditional Story About Service & Prayer

by stewart

There is a very old story about a teaching Master who was traveling with a group of his students.  They were in the process of making a spiritual journey and their travels brought them to rest at an oasis.  It was time for the mid-day prayer.

Making preparation for their obligation, as the disciples searched for a place to spread prayers rugs, several noticed that just up ahead a baker was busy placing dough into the oven for bread.  He seemed to be ignoring the hour, and as he labored and sweated in the warm noon sun; he took several long deep breaths to regain his strength, wiped his brow and continued working.

This behavior puzzled and affronted several of the students; causing one to speak to the Master concerning the baker’s apparent disregard for the community obligation.

And this was the Master’s reply- which has come down to us across the years:  “This man’s sighs are worth a thousand selfish prayers uttered out of vanity.  Without rest this man labors, to feed the weary traveler and his actions constitute the higher service. He is one of the hidden friends and every breath is a joyful prayer and song to his Beloved.”


This story appears in the book by Stewart Bitkoff, “A Commuter’s Guide to Enlightenment,” Llewelyn, 2008; which is available on Amazon and from Publisher.


{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

(Rev/MRS) judith a LABONTE March 25, 2013 at 12:08 am

Love this one – – my DAD, may He R I P, was a baker!

This story reminds me of an old Amish or Shaker (or Both) Hymn – i don’t remember it all, but it says: “it’s a gift to be simple, it’s a gift to be free”

j/L “Granny” Matrika / Rolling Buffalo Woman


stewart March 25, 2013 at 12:57 am

Thanks for your comments. Good to hear from you.


Alaysia March 25, 2013 at 3:31 pm

I remember this story from your book. It’s one of my favorites. There are so many ways to serve.


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