Teach us to pray: The Purpose of Prayer
Prayer is essentially a conversation and like all good conversations, there needs to be a balance between talking and listening. Prayers are not always formed with words; there are pregnant pauses, creating spaces where faith – and trust – can grow. Prayer can be movement, as in a dance, or an activity. Brother Lawrence described prayer this way when he practiced the presence of God while doing the dishes. Prayer can be music, for the “one who sings prays twice”, mused St. Augustine. Prayer can also be expressed in art or other creative pursuits. The shape of our faith expresses our experience of Christ. Deepening our prayer can give us access to that experience with more consistency – and when we need it most.
Does prayer have a purpose? Does it matter if we pray? Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, has said “Praying is simply sitting before God and allowing him, through Jesus, to shape who we are.” The graphic accompanying this article is an invitation to effect change, make that, real change, simply by entering into the conversation.
Prayer changes us – and in turn, enables us to change the world. The Anglican Fellowship of Prayer wants to help us do that.
You can reach me by email at email@example.com , by phone at 902-463-2493 or by snail mail at 1340 Cathedral Lane, Halifax, NS B3H 2Z1.
The Rev. Frances Drolet-Smith
Do you have a favourite prayer or prayer book that you find helpful? Please email me
firstname.lastname@example.org with the details and we will post it here. Kindly put "Prayers to Share" in the subject line.
This is one of my favourite prayers, from the Book of Common Prayer, p. 729
O Lord God, who hast bidden light to shine out of darkness, and who hast again wakened us to praise thee for thy goodness and to ask for thy grace: Accept now the offering of our worship and thanksgiving, and grant unto us all such requests as may be acceptable to thy holy will. Make us to live as children of the light, and heirs of thy everlasting kingdom. Remember, O Lord, according to the multitude of thy mercies, thy whole Church, all who join with us in prayer, and all our brethren, wherever they may be, who stand in need of thine aid. Pour down upon us all the riches of thy grace, so that, redeemed in soul and body, and steadfast in faith, we may ever praise thy wonderful and holy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen