The power of prayer

Thoughts about the forms of our connection with God
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1. Lives in which prayer does not “fit in”. Here I describe the monologue of two people. One of them is extremely poor, the other is extremely rich. The end of the two monologues are the same: I have my own problems. Leave me alone with worlds I do not even know anything about. This world has already overwhelmed me. (If you would like to read more about this, please read my essay here.)

 

 

2. Prayers to ourselves. A prayer for a lot of people is a... a.) monologue; b.) relief; c.) complaint; d.) solution; e.) obligation, role; f.) salvation. „Even a badly told prayer is much better than a prayer not told.” (Saint Teresa of Ávila) (If you would like to read more about this, please read my essay here.)

 

3. The thousand faces of the genuine prayer: The blissful paths leading us to God. A real prayer searches for the Giver, not the gift. The genuine prayer is Silence listening to the totality of God living within us. A real prayer is not about us. It asks for and awaits the love, truth and will of God to the center of our hearts. In a real prayer we make ourselves silent in order to let God fill us. A real prayer does not decrease but increases our freedom explosively. Only in full knowledge of our pitifulness and indignity we can accept the mercy that delivers us from our pitifulness and indignity. A real prayer has a thousand faces. A real prayer – is our lives themselves as a whole. A real prayer does not live in time. A real prayer opens the gate of Paradise again and places the re-creating hands of God into our lives. (If you would like to read more about this, please read my essay here.)

 


 

1. Lives in which prayer does not “fit in”

 

 

 

In these cruel and unequal times I could not even dream of the wellbeing that is handed to others as granted. All my energy is consumed to get the most important things for myself and for those who are in my care. I am responsible for them. I am searching for the opportunities desperately but they get out of my hands. In the meantime the need presses more and more. Responsibilities and obligations are closing me in. No-one helps us. Everyone passes us. No-one even has a look at us. Moreover: everyone threatens us. Me and my loved ones, too. We are terrified. We would like to escape, but we cannot. We are not let to escape. We are already unable to do so. I am afraid I get numb to fight. But I should make more efforts to survive. I should get some rest. But I do not have the time and opportunity for that. I have my own problems. Leave me alone with worlds I do not even know anything about. This world has already overwhelmed me.

 

 

In this fast-paced world I have not enough time to do everything. I am responsible for others. My life is already full of that plenty of things I am obliged to do by my expanding social network. There are a lot of inputs. There is a great deal of information. I have to meet many expectations. If I do not react immediately, I fall behind. In the meantime I get more and more possessions. What I get imposes new responsibilities and new obligations on me. I have got numb in the array of new experiences, new relationships and new possessions. I am burnt out. I should get some rest. I want to use all those things I have got. I have so many ties to this world that is fair enough. Even too much. I have my own problems. Leave me alone with worlds I do not even know anything about. This world has already overwhelmed me.

 


 

2. Prayers to ourselves
 

„there are men around who almost prescribe for God
what the target, the way, the order, the time and the measure of help should be.
There are people who propose God how to help them
according to their will, and if He does not help exactly this way,
they get desperate, and if they can,
they look for help somewhere else.”

(Martin Luther: 6th Penitential Psalm, 1517)

 

 

A prayer for a lot of people is a monologue. It is a place at last, where I can summarize my thoughts. A place at last, where I do not have to care about what other people think about what I say. It is a place at last, where I can be honest. It is a place at last, where I am alone.

A prayer for a lot of people is a relief. Something at last that is repeated in my life, that is safe, familiar and homelike. Something at last I have furnished for myself. It is a place at last where I may find peace.

A prayer for a lot of people is a complaint. It is a place at last where I can tell what hurts me. It is a place at last where I can complain. It is a place at last where I am not interrupted. It is a place at last where there is enough time for myself. It is a place at last where I am listened to.

A prayer for a lot of people is a solution. It is a place at last where I can utter my desires. It is a place at last where I can tell what I want. It is a place at last where everything comes true: all I have to do is: ask. Because it has been written! It is a place at last that provides me the solution.

A prayer for a lot of people is an obligation, a role. At last I could do my duty. At last it is not bothering me that people will raise their eyebrows because I have not prayed enough today. At last I could show Mr. Smith who is just lip-synching beside me what it is like when a real believer prays intensely. It feels good to become an example for others in praying, too.

A prayer for a lot of people is salvation. At last I can do something to ease my soul. At last I can get closer to the happiness that awaits for me in Heaven. At last I could do something for my salvation.

 

„Even a badly told prayer is much better
than a prayer not told.”

(Saint Teresa of Ávila)

 


 

3. The thousand faces of the genuine prayer: The blissful paths leading us to God

 

„If such an abundance of good thoughts comes to us
we ought to disregard the other prayers,
make room for such thoughts,
listen in silence, and under no circumstances obstruct them.
In these times the Holy Spirit himself preaches,
and one word of His sermon is far better
than a thousand of our prayers.”

 (Martin Luther: A Simple Way To Pray, 1535)

 

A real prayer searches for the Giver, not the gift. The genuine prayer is Silence listening to the totality of God living within us. A real prayer is not about us. It asks for and awaits the love, truth and will of God to the center of our hearts. In a real prayer we make ourselves silent in order to let God fill us. That is exactly why a real prayer can gird us with all those we ourselves would never be able to. So a real prayer does not decrease but increases our freedom explosively.

 

Only in full knowledge of our pitifulness and indignity we can accept the mercy that delivers us from our pitifulness and indignity. At the same beautiful moment mercy given to us by the prayer makes us realize also the amazing extent of our pitifulness and indignity because it shows us what we are through God’s eyes. Through God’s eyes it is not only our pitifulness and indignity what we can see. Through God’s eyes it is revealed for us how much beloved we and others are – despite our fallibilities. A real prayer strengthens us in our humanity in that way that it raises us up to God.

 

   

The real prayer has a thousand faces. A real prayer can be the name of Jesus. It can be only one word of „The Lord’s Prayer”. It can be any prayer told with faith. It can be a long series of prayers where the heart does not listen to the words any more but the Space opened by the words. A real prayer is often a song or music: the soul resonates with special power to the sounds showing God’s greatness. A strong version of a real prayer is Silence. The contemplative soul can open to the touch of God more easily than the mind swimming in the stream of thoughts. The power of a real prayer is multiplied by a prayer group. It is a great feeling to "fill a church with prayers". A real prayer can be a glance or a flower placed with empathy. A real prayer is often an activity. All acts in which we share God’s love with someone – are the most genuine prayers. It is delightful that a real prayer can have an endless variety of manifestations. A real prayer – is our lives themselves as a whole.

 

A real prayer does not live in time. A real prayer is not linked to the moment it has been born at. In a real prayer God, who exists out of time, steps into our souls. That is why a real prayer does not formulate short term, concrete requests, but it gives us long-suffering of God as a gift. A moment will become a thousand years – and a thousand years will become a moment.

 

 

   

A real prayer is a huge power. A real prayer provides a manifestation of God’s omnipotence in our world. The closeness of God crushes sins. A real prayer moves such depths of love that we cannot even imagine as human beings. A real prayer opens the gate of Paradise again and places the re-creating hands of God into our lives. I wish all my Readers a lot of real prayers re-creating yourselves and others! Amen.

 

 

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