Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

A Life of Prayer, and Prayers of Joy ; Originally Printed as an Editorial in the Christian Science Sentinel

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

A Life of Prayer, and Prayers of Joy ; Originally Printed as an Editorial in the Christian Science Sentinel

Article excerpt

Do you ever pray? Do you ever smile when you pray? Or does prayer often feel like it's too serious for that - or like hard work? Is prayer what we do only when we're hurting, or sad, or sick? Are our prayers mostly a last resort, when everything else has failed?

Of course we should pray in times of challenge. But even if we are facing serious circumstances or tough times, our prayer lifts us up. It is never an added hardship.

I have a friend who sometimes bursts out laughing as he quietly reads the Bible to himself. Usually you can see it coming. There's a twinkle in his eye; then a smile lights his face; then a soft chuckle begins. In a moment he's just laughing out loud. Something he has seen in the Bible has filled him with wonder. And in all of this, he's actually praying. God's Word is speaking to him; he's listening; and he responds - with childlike joy.

It reminds me of the words in the Old Testament where God blesses Jerusalem: "And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in the streets thereof" (Zech. 8:5). Or Jesus' words to his disciples when he brought the little children forward and said, "... of such is the kingdom of God" (Luke 18:16). Or when he told his followers that his words were come to bring them joy, "that your joy might be full" (John 15:11). Full. That's the kind of prayer I think we'd all like to know - prayer that is simply full of joy. A life that is full of joy.

Recently, Rev. Scotty McLennan, who serves as chaplain at Tufts University and was also the inspiration for a long-standing character in the syndicated cartoon strip "Doonesbury," told The Boston Globe about his personal spiritual growth over the decades. When asked where he hopes to go next on his journey, he replied: "I'd like to figure out how to make my whole life a prayer. I'd like to find a way to live in a consistently spiritual way. I'd like to love God and love people fully and always" (Nov. 9, 1999, pg. E6).

To make our whole life a prayer. …

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