Prayer is a mystery and an effort. So many petitions seem to remain unanswered. The most disheartening barrier lies in the moral difficulty: Why should we have to pray to a loving and merciful God? A parent doesn’t wait until a child is lying on a bed of pain crying out for his sympathy and healing. When our poor human hearts love, they do not wait to be begged that they may supply the needs of those they love. Why should prayer on our part be the indispensable condition of the working of God?
First, prayer makes us more deeply conscious of God. In the rush and stress of life we tend to lose a sure and clear consciousness of God. In the busy world, the mind is filled every morning with all of the news to the ends of the world. If we will not sometimes think of God, He will merely become a name to us. It is in prayer that we have the sure consciousness of God.
Second, prayer helps us to see through God’s eyes. It’s sad how most evils go unnoticed, wrongs unremedied, poor unpitied and unhelped, miseries uncomforted, not because we don’t know, but because we do not sympathize. We haven’t looked at the world through God’s eyes.
Third, prayer surrenders us to the energy of God. The highest attitude in prayer is not desire or praise. It is surrender. In surrender we open our whole being to God as a flower opens itself to the sun, and we are filled up to our measure with His divine energy.
God has chosen people as a means of His power and grace in the world. And if people will not work the works of God, the works of God remain undone. We limit God by our prayerlessness. Because we are not surrendered to God in prayer, the might of His energy does not pass into us.