Dear Urban Abbey Members and Friends,
Following is today's meditation from Fr. Don Talafous, St. John's Abbey. I think this is a wonderful commentary on the power of prayer and its value in our lives. As Abbey members, the first tenet of our Rule of Life (Pray daily using the Book of Common Prayer or another Christian format and worship regularly in community) recognizes the importance of prayer in our daily lives. I hope this will be of value in your prayers today.
Even the most devout Christian must have questions at times about prayer: how it works? how effective is it? why pray at all? One of the most trustworthy signs of a believer is just the willingness to pray. Our beliefs and our morals are in many ways less convincing signs of our following of Jesus than is our praying. Belief can, at times, be simply a mental thing; the morals we practice are often duplicated by non-believers. But prayer shows a profound confidence not just that there is a God but that this God is concerned about and able to act in our lives. Prayer makes no sense apart from a genuine trust in God. Though it remains true that none of us may have a sure grip on how prayer works, a belief in it defines us as Christians. When illness strikes, when someone loses a job, when a marriage is in trouble, when a teenager seems headed for disaster, when an accident worries us, we pray. We trust that in some way and some how God will help. Our trust does not mean we have to expect God to change the laws of the universe; it may be something much more subtle. Perhaps as a result of prayer I or someone for whom I pray learns how to deal with some disaster or huge worry. We are probably better off in the long run not trying to figure out what God might or should do and instead trusting that God has ways of which we know so little. Jesus says: "I give you my assurance. Ask and you shall receive, that your joy may be full" (John 16:24).