I’ve recently taken up reading Howard Thurman’s Meditations of the Heart and have found it rewarding now many times over. Today, I read the following thought regarding the pattern of prayer and am being challenged by it:
It is never quite sufficient to place all the needs of mankind before God and leave them there. The efficacy of the prayer is often measured by the degree to which the individual is willing to become involved in actually working in the world to meet these needs. A man may share in his prayer his concern for peace in the world and yet, in his own little world, be unwilling to change his private attitude of antagonism or prejudice toward his fellows. Obviously, such prayer would be meaningless.
Notice what he does not say. He does not say that prayer accomplishes nothing, only our effort does. He says that a heart that is willing to pray but unwilling to act is not really praying.
True prayer, where petitions are lifted up to God who is both Creator and Redeemer, is only true when it reflects the orientation and desire of the one who is praying. Read Matthew 6:5-15 for more.
It is meaningless to simply throw words up into the air and leaving it to God to do with it what He will, when our own lives are not inclined to act upon our own requests.
So, how are you praying, and therefore living in light of your own prayers, today?