Advertisement

Prayer, Plain and Simple

Prayer, Plain and Simple

No Pain, No Gain… No Way!

Do you have a prayer hero, a role model or “guide” for spiritual direction? Whether or not we choose one consciously most of us probably have some impression in our minds about what proper prayer looks like and that impression probably came from someone we considered an expert in the field.

 

Sometimes our selection of “experts” leaves something to be desired. Jennifer Schuchmann and I relay a story our book Six Prayers God Always Answers about a particularly powerful, but warped picture of spirituality.   

Advertisement

It is said that St. Catherine’s Monastery near Mt. Sinai Egypt, still honors the final will and testament of three monks who lived there twelve centuries ago. One monk was a doorkeeper. He wanted to keep his job forever and so to honor his request, his mummy still sits beside the door he guarded in life. 

 

Behind the door lived the other two monks. Each had taken a vow to devote his life to perpetual prayer. One would pray while the other slept. They never saw each other or spoke to one another. Their only connection was a chain that ran through the wall and was attached to their wrists. When one had completed his prayers, he would yank the chain as a signal for the other to begin. 

Advertisement

 

When the two men died, their skeletons were laid side by side in caskets. And there they rest today, still united by the same links of chain.

 

Some historians believe that rigorous monastic disciplines like the one practiced by these monks helped preserve civilization during the cultural deterioration of the early Middle Ages.

 

Advertisement

Perhaps.

 

But anecdotes like these, told as sermon illustrations by well-intentioned pastors, have unintentionally decreased not only the occurrence of prayer but also the number of active pray-ers. When an average twenty-first century Westerner hears of such eccentric dedication, the typical response is, “If this is what it takes to pray to God, count me out.” 

 

Prayer isn’t accomplished by some divine formula. Its power isn’t amplified if we assume some sort of ascetic or monastic posture.

Advertisement

Question: Do you have any ascetic tendencies in your spiritual life? Do you imagine that prayer has to be “hard” to be “worthy?” Where does this assumption come from? Is it correct, now that you think about it? What does this say about your image of God? What would you like to believe about God?

  • http://Beliefnet Candice Pierce

    I gave up the idea that I had to be on bended knees, eyes closed, and head bowed, in order for God to hear me. That adds too many limitations to the times and places where I could talk to God. NOW, I pray whenever and where ever I can. As long as your your spirit is humbled, and your heart sincere, I believe God is honored.

  • Mark Herringshaw

    Candice… right on the mark. Well said.

Previous Posts

A Prayer for Google-Eyed Parents
If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. (James 1:5) “I am the Lord who heals you.” (Exodus 15:26) We had dear friends, parents of two toddlers, stay with us for two weeks recently. I couldn't help but notice ...

posted 1:07:01pm Aug. 04, 2015 | read full post »

A Prayer to Learn to Pray Without Distraction
Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart. (Colossians 4:2) If you are like me, you struggle with staying focused when you pray. The answer is simply this:  keep the thanks flowing! As we lift up the people in our ...

posted 2:25:46pm Jul. 31, 2015 | read full post »

A Prayer for Grace and Peace
May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.   (1 Corinthians 1:3) Seventeen times in Scripture, the writers of the epistles bless their readers with these two virtues:  Grace and Peace. When we look at the deeper ...

posted 10:14:35am Jul. 30, 2015 | read full post »

A Prayer for an Obedient Heart
If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully keep all his commands that I am giving you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the world.You will experience all these blessings if you obey the Lord your ...

posted 12:56:59pm Jul. 29, 2015 | read full post »

A Prayer to Grow Old Gracefully, Fruitfully, and Strong
Even in old age they will still produce fruit;     they will remain vital and green. (Psalm 92:14) I will be your God throughout your lifetime— until your hair is white with age. I made you, and I will care for you. I will carry you ...

posted 1:47:16pm Jul. 28, 2015 | read full post »

Advertisement


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.