Why Pray? Pt. 1
Posted in Fear/Anxiety
Prayer Brings Inner Peace
“Now about eight days after these sayings Jesus took with Him Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray. And while He was praying, the appearance of His face changed, and His clothes became dazzling white. Luke 9: 28-29
As I grow older, I have come to realize the importance and vitality of praying. Today it is my desire to address the question, “Why Pray?” Does it do any good?
In today’s Scripture, Luke tells us that Jesus came to a crisis in his life, when he realized once and for all that the cruel cross confronted him. Taking his disciples to the beautiful retreat of Caesarea Philippi, Jesus sought serenity for that which he must face on another hill– the hill of the skull. It was a tense time in the life of the Savior. The stress and strain of such a thought led Jesus to pray.
Luke says, “And while He was praying, the appearance of His face changed.” Had our Lord, prior to praying, looked tense and drawn? Had his face revealed his inner struggle as he experienced today’s strain, while foreseeing tomorrow’s peril? Did Jesus look like you and me — at times — stressed and strained?
Perhaps this is how his face changed: from fear to faith; from anxiety to strength; from hesitation to confidence; from outward stress to inward power. His countenance was altered after praying.
Each one of us knows the pain of stress along with the sense of an internal inadequacy to face it. Not one of us is free from pressure. Not one of us is free from worry. What is it that causes you worry today? Many things occur in our lives, daily, to cause us to worry– but perhaps our greatest worry is that we do not have the stamina to face that which worries us. Perhaps our faces reveal that very worry.
Harry Emerson Fosdick says that most humans are like cisterns– that is, a small tank or reservoir for storing water. “We are good as far as we go; we have our uses, but we cannot count on ourselves because the sources of our supply are superficial; our reserves are limited; we cannot stand a prolonged drought.” However, says Fosdick, “we humans can become like artesian wells, with resources that run deep, not at the mercy of transient circumstance.”*
What was it that Jesus said to us? “The water that I shall give him shall become in him a well of water springing up.” (John 4:14) Prayer leads us to the well, springing up, to Jesus himself.
I have always admired the words of Beethovan as his hearing waned and total deafness threatened. He prayed, “O God, give me strength to conquer myself.” How and where do we find strength to conquer ourselves? How and where do we find strength to conquer our anxiety, worry and woe? How do we find inner peace, serenity of the soul?
St. Augustine wrote this prayer in the fifth century. “Let my soul take refuge from the crowding turmoil of worldly thoughts beneath the shadow of Thy wings; let my heart, this sea of restless waves, find peace in Thee, O God.” Isn’t that what you and I want: inner peace?
Why pray? It gives us peace for our inner turmoil, peace that changes the very appearance of our faces.
Prayer: Lord, through our earnest prayers to you, make us like trees planted by streams of water that bring forth fruit in season. In your Son’s holy name, we pray. Amen.
Submitted by Judy Holmes
*Fosdick, Harry Emerson. “Dear Mr. Brown: Letters to a Person Perplexed about Religion.” Published by Harper & Brothers, Publishers, New York, 1961.