Continuing a series presenting our beliefs in plain English. This time we’ll take a look at Prayer.
If you go to Church, the service will have times of prayer, either set words or spontaneous ones, or silence for people to say their own prayer. All good. These prayers help us concentrate and focus our mind and our faith in God, that, in some way, He is with everyone, looking after them. These prayers can also help us feel our love and concern and we may find, after praying, that we feel better or we see some way we can help someone else or a situation. All good.
People say God doesn’t need our prayers and they’re only really for us. I don’t agree with that idea; I believe God does need us to pray – not to give him a shove – but to help the whole process of God with us and us with God. When we pray, either formally or freely in our hearts, we strengthen the bond. Prayer is like a channel. We can’t prove the power of prayer, we can believe it, and there are countless examples of prayer making a difference to other people.
Another kind of prayer is without words, more a prayerful feeling in our heart. Feeling love, healing, hope and trust, and willing these on. A helpful word here is ‘vigil’ – we feel, watch, hold, wait, love and hand it over. It doesn’t have to be terribly ‘holy’, but it does need to be sincere.
At the heart of prayer and praying is our own relationship with God, our love for him, our sense of depending on him, our feeling that he is our heavenly Father who is in overall control of everything, but never forcing. I’d recommend always praying, in whatever way suits you. And accepting that God answers every prayer in some productive beneficial way even if we are not seeing this.
You know, people ask a lot of awkward questions about prayer, and doubt if it’s really any good doing it. I’d say don’t get into logic and intellectual problems. Just pray from your heart and God will take it on from there.