To pray or not to pray?

Posted by Christine Nusse on Mar 2, 2008 | Categories: Seasons of the Spirit

How difficult it is to pray! Not that I do not want to pray, or that it bores me. No, I just do not think about it.
Once in a while, when the street where I have my office is less noisy than usual, I hear the noon bells for the Angelus ringing at a church two blocks away. The Angelus painting by Millet comes to my mind and I think of the couple, in the fields, who having stopped their work, bow their head and pray the angelus as they hear the village church’s bell ring. Today, can this peasant’s grand-son, perched on his tractor, still hear the bell? Chances are he is listening to his ipod!
When I am overwhelmed by a strong emotion, fear, a loss, an acute problem, or a deep joy, to pray is simple, easy and so normal. But as long as I can keep feelings and life in control and go on as more or less planned, what use do I have for prayer? That other painting of two farmers, the American Gothic is more the mode I live by.
In the Old Testament, suffering and death were seen as consequences of sin, of our separation from God. That was what Job’s friends were telling him.
Today it is only when we are confronted to suffering and death that we think to pray. Then, like Job, we want to believe that our ‘Defender is alive’ and he will save us.
Until then, why would I need a defender or a savior? Why should I pray?
As if prayer was the ultimate tool we need to keep our life and our universe under control. We have plumbers, lawyers, doctors, .. and priests. Everything is undeer control. What is not. we choose to ignore.

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