Some people find the word ‘prayer’ a bit naff. They prefer to say meditation, or something else not naff! The English language is a fantastic palate of language colour, and the more I read and write, the more I find the importance of choosing the right word. My guest, Daryl Francis, shares more on the subject of prayer, and his findings in Australia. Thanks, Daryl!
It seems a lots of people pray. But the media is often reluctant to mention it.
Sometimes – well, lots of times actually, I have wondered why that might be. I can’t give a decent answer to that question.
Sure, we hear of people praying when there has been a disaster, like an earthquake, a tsunami, or some other catastrophe affecting many. It’s not often though, that it is reported in the media that an individual used prayer to help them – and that it actually worked! Not often in Australia, anyway.
There are exceptions though. On August 17 this year The Age reported the case of a gentleman who remained calm and prayed whilst trapped under his tractor for about 15 hours before being found, in below freezing conditions. It took another 3 hours to free him. This chap lives not far from my place. “Intensive care paramedic Grant Seater said the man was conscious, alert and stable when crews arrived:
‘‘The gentleman is a bit of a religious man and he was praying throughout the night that someone would find him,’’ Mr Seater said…. ‘‘His mental state of mind was quite good. He basically resorted to the fact that he couldn’t do anything, but he was very pleased to see us arrive and help him out.’’
Between you and me, I can no more imagine a life without praying than I could imagine a life without breathing.
It’s been my observation that people pray in many different ways, and no one religion has a monopoly on prayer. I’d be as bold as to suggest that prayer really takes as many forms as there are people. My own experience tells me that even my prayers vary with every passing moment; my prayers take many forms.
So, how could I possibly tell someone else when, how, or even whether they ought to pray?
People keep on praying, so there must be something to it, some perceived benefit to it.
At a conference last year I met someone – someone who was not a “card carrying” Christian Scientist who was praying, but didn’t realise it. She shared a healing of a back condition. Moving easily, she told us how she was grateful to be there as she had not been able to move properly for a few days before. She was resisting taking medication because she was not fond of the side effects she had experienced in the past. In casual conversation, while waiting for everyone to find their seats, before speaking to the topic she had come to address, she related how burdened she had felt about a number of issues she’d been grappling with for many months, but that the night before something had changed in her thinking. She had a strong feeling that the resolution of these issues was just not her responsibility, and felt very calm about the whole business: she reported just feeling deeply that there was a solution, even if she didn’t know what it was going to be. She said that she just put the whole thing in God’s hands at that moment. “It was though a great weight had been lifted from my shoulders.”
I spoke with this lady the day after her session at the conference, and thanked her for sharing her experience, pointing out to her what a great example it was of answered prayer. She hadn’t realized that she had actually been praying at the time when she simply acknowledged that there was a solution at hand and that God was indeed able to take proper care of her life. She hadn’t thought about prayer like that before. It led to a very thoughtful discussion about how anyone can pray without the need for a medium between them and their God.
For me, prayer has brought great peace, better relationships, freedom from fear, even freedom from disease. And it has enabled me to help others effectively when they have asked me to pray with them for healing.
This blog makes no secret of the fact that I am a Christian Scientist. But I do know that you don’t have to be a Christian Scientist to pray effectively!