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

It's a Wonder-filled Life
No wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice. My body rests in safety. Psalm 16:9 My heart is confident in you, O God; my heart is confident. No wonder I can sing your praises! Psalm 57:7 Yes, you have been with me from birth; from my mother’s ...

posted 10:50:50am Apr. 23, 2015 | read full post »

Shut Up Or Shout
“Do not even talk,” Joshua commanded. “Not a single word from any of you until I tell you to shout. Then shout!” Joshua 6:10 “Be still, and know that I am God!" Psalm 46:10 The Israelites had messed up God's plan and suffered the ...

posted 1:10:57pm Apr. 22, 2015 | read full post »

A Prayer to Win the Race
"...Let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects ...

posted 11:11:33am Apr. 21, 2015 | read full post »

A Prayer to Stop Judging
"Even if I have sinned, that is my concern, not yours. You think you're better than I am..." ~ Job (Job 19:4,5) “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged." ~Jesus (Matt. 7:1) "God alone, who gave the law, is the Judge. He alone has ...

posted 3:46:41pm Apr. 17, 2015 | read full post »

A Prayer for An Extraordinary Life
"And you should imitate me, just as I imitate Christ." ~Paul (1 Corinthians 11:1) Often we look at the apostles in Scripture and wonder at their strength, productivity, diligence and power. We sigh and say, "No wonder they were able to move ...

posted 2:33:00pm Apr. 16, 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.