Prayer, Plain and Simple

Prayer, Plain and Simple


No Pain, No Gain… No Way!

posted by Mark Herringshaw

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.   

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. 

 

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.

 

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.

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 God's Leadership
Teach me to do your will,     for you are my God. May your gracious Spirit lead me forward     on a firm footing. Psalm 143:10 NLT  Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God; let Your good Spirit lead me into a level country and into the land of uprightness. (Amplified) Father, Y

posted 1:47:43pm Dec. 19, 2014 | read full post »

A Prayer for Peace, A Prayer for Health
A peaceful heart leads to a healthy body;     jealousy is like cancer in the bones. (Proverbs. 14:30 NLT)  A calm and undisturbed mind and heart are the life and health of the body, but envy, jealousy, and wrath are like rottenness of the bones. (Amplified Translation) One of the greatest se

posted 11:51:34am Dec. 17, 2014 | read full post »

All I Really Want In Life
When I am overwhelmed, you alone know the way I should turn. Wherever I go, my enemies have set traps for me. I look for someone to come and help me, but no one gives me a passing thought! No one will help me; no one cares a bit what happens to me. Then I pray to you, O Lord. I say,

posted 12:30:57pm Dec. 12, 2014 | read full post »

Turning Down the Invitation To the Christmas Pity Party
“Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring GREAT JOY to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!" Luke 2:10,11 If Christmas is a bit disappointing to you this year – perhaps you don't have funds to

posted 10:01:46am Dec. 11, 2014 | read full post »

God's Promises: Too Good to Be True?
Elisha replied, “Listen to this message from the Lord! This is what the Lord says: By this time tomorrow in the markets of Samaria, six quarts of choice flour will cost only one piece of silver, and twelve quarts of barley grain will cost only one piece of silver.” The officer assisting the ki

posted 11:56:57am Dec. 10, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

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

All reported content is logged for investigation.