Earlier today someone sent me an interesting article they found on why prayer. This is not your average little talk about prayer. It’s not about all the things we often bring to mind about communion with God. We always talk about bringing our needs to Him. We talk about listening to His guidance, and understanding our place in God’s world. This is different. This asks the question “why prayer”….why should we pray at all?
This is about praying when you really don’t want to or think it’s just not worth it. It’s about praying when you feel like your prayers go unheard, or, if you’re an atheist . . .
Here’s the story about “Why prayer?”:
An apparent atheist was surprised by the response issued by an advice columnist after writing a letter to him. He was writing to ask for help in convincing his family that prayer is “mumbo jumbo”.
“My older brother was diagnosed with cancer last week. My whole family is freaking out and trying to deal with the news. Everyone is trying to find different ways to help, but something my grandmother said really got me angry. She said we should all just ‘pray for my brother,’ like prayer would actually save his life.
I got into a fight with my grandmother and the rest of my family about this and now I feel worse than ever. I need to get them to see that praying and religious mumbo jumbo doesn’t help.”
The respondent said he was “deeply sorry” about the brother’s diagnosis. He continued to explain that “the idea of ‘praying’ is a lot less complicated. He explained prayer is a lot more powerful, and a little different than you may realize.”
This was the response:
“Prayer is a type of thought. It’s a lot like meditation. — It’s a type of very concentrated mental focus with passionate emotion directed towards a concept or situation, or the lack thereof. But there’s a special X-factor ingredient that makes ‘prayer’ different than meditation or other types of thought. That X-factor is humility. This is the most seemingly contradictory aspect of prayer and what many people dislike about the feeling of praying.
‘Getting down on your knees’ is not about lowering your power or being a weakling. Kneeling is about showing respect for the size and grandeur of what we call existence. — It’s about being humble in the presence of the vastness of life, space, and sensation. It’s acknowledging our extremely limited understanding of what it all really means.”
So, next time you think about someone who doesn’t know a thing about prayer or what it means: show them this story. Perhaps it will allow them the opportunity to be humbled before God and just pray.
Susan Malphurs is the Executive Vice President of the Malphurs Group, an HR, Outreach, and Leadership consultant, blogger at malphursgroup.com/blog, wife, mother, and grandmother. | @susanmalphurs