“Let us say right here that our class found most writings on prayer made it sound too easy. It isn’t. Those who use it as a spare tire, only when an emergency arises, are very apt to be disappointed in its results.” From Prayer Can Change Your Life by Dr. William R. Parker and Elaine St. Johns
The book quoted above is another one that has had a major impact on my life. I saw a reference to it somewhere, was intrigued by the title, found a copy, started reading, and was even more intrigued by the content. It is about a scientifically conducted test on prayer with 45 participants, including agnostics, a minister and an atheist.
Prayer – our communication link with God – is a gift to all of us, if we’re willing to accept it as such and to be brutally honest with ourselves as we pray. That is a lesson those test participants also learned.
For many of us the first questions we ask are when should we pray, where should we pray, and most importantly, how should we pray. The answers to when and where are easy: anytime, and anywhere.
Dot Cresswell was one of the original nine members of The Church of the Saviour. Knowing that her membership commitment included a commitment to spend a specified amount of time in prayer every day, I asked her how she managed that when her children were little. “I locked myself in the bathroom,” she said. It was the only place she could go where her little ones wouldn’t disturb her. As I said, the when and where are easy – anytime, anywhere, even in the bathroom.
As to the question, How should we pray, I believe the first step is to learn to be completely honest with God in our prayers. That I discovered by accident when I was honing my writing skills and learning how to say exactly what I meant, which isn’t as easy as it sounds. I did that by writing short prayers about those things that were critically important to me. Why prayers? Because I knew I couldn’t snow God since my Heavenly Parent knew exactly how I felt whether or not I adequately admitted to or correctly described those feelings. When I re-read those prayers I knew when I was a hundred percent truthful and when I wasn’t. I had to rewrite most of them several times before I would accept them as accurate.
Before reading Call to Commitment,* I had not recognized either giving or prayer as spiritual disciplines that can help us grow in our faith, nor did I appreciate the significance of prayer as a link to God that is always available to us anytime and anywhere. Discovering that is another priceless gift I want to share with you.
Blessings on your efforts to embrace the spiritual discipline of prayer,
*Call to Commitment is Elizabeth O’Connor’s book detailing the early history of The Church of the Saviour. The Faith and Money Network is an outgrowth of their ministry program.