Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Value of Prayer



For as long as I can remember I have been fascinated with prayer. Just the word pray or prayer gives me a comfort feeling deep in my heart. I was raised Catholic but have long been an independent believer that for me, it is not necessary to belong to any one religious organization. I do believe however, that each and every church serves a purpose for those that attend and need the comfort and familiarity of a church family. I do believe in God and I do believe in prayer, for not to believe in a higher power at work in the creation of our surroundings would leave me empty and without hope. I look at everything surrounding us from the simple sight and sound of an innocent child’s laughter to the intricate beauty of the tiny buttercup growing wild in the forest and I am in awe at how perfect it all is.

My husband was raised LDS and as a non-practicing member we were often visited by the young missionaries.  I agreed to let a particular pair of young men give me the lessons not because I intended to become a member but because I was interested in learning more about my husband’s faith and upbringing.  I took a liking to these young men and admired how devoted and earnest they were in their faith.  One mild argument I had with one of them was the fact that they told me that the church was the one true church and could not explain or convince me that this was so. He took particular care in researching answers to the questions I had about this but could never really satisfy me with the answers. By the end of our sessions and when he was to be transferred to another location he came one evening to say goodbye.  He was emotional and told me that one thing he learned from praying about all of this was that perhaps I was right about the notion of each and every church serving a purpose for those attending. So to them their church could and should be the one true church.  Ahh but I don’t believe in a one true church. This is the concept he did not grasp.  Yes I argued that each church served a purpose as does every faith for those who feel the need but I actually believe that we all should come together as a whole and use the best of every faith to love and do good.  For to criticize and degrade other faiths is really counterproductive to the best of things in this world.

One common thread of believers in a higher power is prayer. To pray is to be hopeful. It can keep the shadows from overcoming us in our darkest of times. It can soothe our hearts and souls as long as we can truly quiet our minds and be open and honest with our feelings.  To be depressed is to let go and lose hope. I have been there many times and have forgotten in my selfishness to pray. When I remember to ask for help the light really does come back to the day.

There is one thing I take away from my childhood upbringing and that is the rosary. I have a beautiful rosary I purchased from the Trappist Monastery. Each bead is the likeness of a silver rose. The purpose of the Rosary is to help keep in memory certain principal events or mysteries in the history of our salvation, and to thank and praise God for them. There are twenty mysteries reflected upon in the Rosary, and these are divided into the five joyful mysteries, the five luminous mysteries, the five sorrowful mysteries, and the five glorious mysteries. I won’t go into each of these for it would take hours but suffice it to say that the feel of those beads in my fingers as I say these prayers are the soothing comfort I seek in some of my darkest moments. To pray the rosary makes me think about each and every word and feel the lightness enter.

I know there are many non-believers or agnostics and I hope that I have not offended you. I only wish to make a statement of the grace and comfort of prayer in my life. I hope and pray the same for you.


5 comments:

icebear said...

You are right, there is no one true church. All a person needs to understand is John 3:16, and believe that Jesus can save you from your wretchedness and has the power to sustain your soul in this life and throughout eternity- you are then well on your way. No works can get you there. That is what it means "He did it all, He gave it all". We do works in gratitude, we can't save ourselves.
As far as prayer goes, isn't it amazing that we may go boldly to the throne room of the Lord with our pain, anguish, fear---and gratitude? We get to meet with a wonderful God, who loves us so much He gave everything He had so we might fellowship with Him for all time.

I agree prayer is wonderful. Thank you for reminding me that i should spend more time in it!

Putz said...

what do you think of the lds temple ordinances and sealing ordinances????????????

Mental P Mama said...

Nothing beats prayer. Nothing. Great post.

Flea said...

LOVE.

Recently I had a discussion with someone who grew up in a church that believed theirs was the only church going to Heaven. Not only is that arrogant and short-sighted, not to mention non-biblical, it's just plain sad. How does one go through life believing family and friends are going to Hell? And be smug about it?

I believe that there is one way to Heaven, but not that any particular church has cornered the market on Jesus or Heaven. And like you, I believe each church serves its purpose for those who attend.

Sadly, the purpose some people have in going to church is simply to feel better. That's fine and good here, but not eternally. It's like eating chocolate and fried food to feel better. It works short-term, but the long-term ramifications of feel-good behavior are painful.

Sorry. Two cents. Totally what that's worth.

CeeCee said...

How did I miss this post?
I believe all religions have their place, as do all believers. We, as humans, can never know the true nature of God. We can only seek him/her out in the ways you have described. Prayer and meditation (listening for God) are powerful tools.

I'm glad you've found that the rosary's tradition helps you focus. While not Catholic, sometimes I wish there were something similar to help me focus in my prayers. I find my mind wanders unless I'm praying for something specific.