Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Pray, and let God worry

The blog title is a quotation from Martin Luther. It came to mind when reading a part of the Tearfund report, which highlights the calming effects of prayer.

After prayer 38% of people felt peaceful/content; 22% close to God. 80% reported that prayer made them feel better. This section of the report is entitled 'Too Busy Not To Pray' (referring to Bill Hybels' book) and concludes with this sentence:

"It [prayer] provides a moment of reflection and it provokes positive emotions in the person praying."

I realise that this is not the exeperience of everyone, and in fact, these conclusions can make some people feel worse because they don't respond in this way. This is one example of areas where we need to be sensitive to those around us - often we/I lack this sensitivity and trot out one-dimensional opinions and viewpoints.

Nevertheless the Tearfund report and other research highlights the value that there is in the act of praying. Intriguingly (for me) they make a link between these benefits from prayer and the processing of slowing down and reflecting. They also refer to the Stephen Cottrell book that I've been blogging about recently.

This brought to mind a time when I was a student in St Andrews (hence the photo) and going through a bit of a rough time. I recall vividly - which is unusual for me - walking along the East Sands one night in the haar, feeling completely confused and then without really noticing anything happening I felt completely at peace and reassured. I came to a conclusion about the direction of my life - and have had no regrets ever since.

Prayer takes many forms, but maybe it's most effective when we don't use our feeble words and simply let God work in our hearts.

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