Parish Link - May 2022

Prayer is a universal phenomenon

Prayer is a Universal Phenomenon

Dear Friends,

‘It is better in prayer to have a heart without words than words without heart’, Gandhi said.

When Albert Einstein visited Princeton University, a doctoral student asked him if there was anything left in the world for original research. Einstein allegedly replied: ‘Find out about prayer. Someone must find out about prayer.’

Prayer is a universal phenomenon. People of all religions pray, and even those who don’t consider themselves religious may say the occasional prayer. Because you never know, do you? I think that is how many people feel about prayer: You never know. It can’t do any harm. But will it work? You never know...

I pray daily. It’s part of my job description. I pray for this parish, its schools, its businesses, its people. I pray because I believe in the power of prayer. But don’t get me wrong. Most of the time, I don’t expect my prayers to change the fabric of reality. I do believe in miracles, but they are extremely rare. Even so, I pray, and I believe in the power of prayer. In my opinion, this power, rather than magically manipulating the world around us, more often changes us inside. The power of prayer changes us, so that when we open our eyes, we look at the same world through different eyes. Praying is like aligning our vision with God’s vision. Praying keeps us focused and alert to the presence of God in the people and the world around us.

I am in the fortunate position of getting paid for praying. Perhaps we can’t all pray sitting silently with our eyes closed and our hands folded. That’s okay. Even Saint Teresa of Avila admitted to shaking the sand in her hourglass to make the time go faster. But that does not mean we can’t pray. Instead, why don’t we pray with our hands? Pray with our work? Pray with our talents? Pray with our money, our generosity in charitable giving? ‘Pray as you can, not as you can’t.’ (John Chapman)

Love and prayers

Revd Johannes Nobel