Submitted by Houston Watson ’24
If you are like me, there have been times when you wonder whether prayer is worthwhile, whether it does anything. Perhaps there have been times when you have asked something of God and, as far as you are aware, nothing has come of it. Or maybe you have experienced ‘dry’ prayer, that is, prayer that seems empty and evokes no sense of closeness to God. This can be very discouraging, especially in times of stress and difficulty. What, then, is prayer? Why do we pray? Should we pray? Fundamentally, prayer is the raising of the heart and mind to God, whether that be in praise, thanksgiving, or petition. Yet, it is also God calling to us. Every time we pray, it is because God has given us the grace to do so. In this way, true prayer is always first initiated by God, demonstrating that He is constantly drawing us towards Him. Prayer, then, is to be in union with God – to align ourselves with His will. True prayer must always have the attitude of “Thy will be done.” Because of this, it may be that our prayers are not answered in the way we expect. God, who is not limited by time or space and knows all that is good and right, may answer our prayers differently based on our true needs since He is always working in our best interest. This could mean that we get something other than what we asked for or that our prayer is answered at a different time. It may even mean that what we want is not given to us because it is not what is good for us. Even our suffering has the potential for greater good if we follow Christ and choose the path of righteousness. Whatever the immediate outcome of our prayer is, we can trust that it is beneficial at the very least because our union with God is strengthened every time. We will be heard and the best will be done or given to us. For these reasons, we should be quick to pray and turn to the Father in all things big and small.
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