Prayer of the Heart was inspired by The Chain of Hope. This charitable organisation raises money for the treatment of heart disorders in children, including Marfan’s Syndrome, of which John Tavener is a sufferer.
The singer should sit on a low stool, bowing towards the heart. This facilitates the soul’s concentration, and its unification in ecstasy. The Prayer of the Heart is prayed ceaselessly day and night, awake or sleeping, because it has become at one with the beating of the heart... Silence, peace, sweetness of union with God...
The Prayer is not usually sounded with the voice at all – it is silent. Therefore the music must be played and sung intensely, quietly, with no physical effort. The Byzantine bell and large Tibetan temple bowl may be played by the singer. Prayer of the Heart should be sung in subdued lighting, perhaps by candlelight. The recording of the heartbeat should sound very tenderly and quietly throughout.