Does Anyone Still Pray?
by Janet Stobie
Besides grandparents and ministers does anyone still pray? A teen submitted this question to the United Church Observer. It’s dogged my thoughts for the last week.
My first answer is yes, of course people of all ages still pray. My friends, some of whom are teens, some in their thirties and forties, pray regularly. They ask for God’s help concerning exams, crises and life in general. Probably, the main reason I know they pray is that I am a retired United Church minister. They feel safe in telling me. Also, my friends tend to be people who attend church, or sing in the Gospel Choir. Prayer is a part of their personal culture. What about the rest of the world?
When we listen to the news, we learn that all over the world people of every religion pray at least in a formal way. That’s why churches, mosques, synagogues and temples are popular targets for terrorists. I’m sure if we had the opportunity to interview them, even the terrorists would say that they pray.
There is no shortage of prayer in this world. Lots of us talk with God every day. We plead with God. We bargain with God. We give thanks to God. Sometimes, when frustration or pain overwhelms us, we yell at God. The problem is that we often fail to recognize that prayer is a conversation.
A real conversation requires listening. Maybe the question is, “Does anyone listen to God today?” In the Bible, we are often told to listen to God. In Moses’ words we hear:
“Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to God’s voice, and hold fast to God. For the LORD is your life, … (Deuteronomy 30:19-20)
Begin incorporating listening in your prayers. Be assured, God does speak today.