What difference does prayer make in real life? What happens when we pray? Does it change anything? And if it does, what does it change? The situation? God’s mind? Other people? Us? Any combination of these?
Perhaps the Good News (the gospel) is that we really don’t have to know how or why prayer works. The point is that the Bible demonstrates God’s desire to be in ongoing conversation with the people God loves. God is made known in fire and in wind, in one-on-one conversation, and in the presence of multitudes. Sometimes God’s people wail in lament or whine about hardships. Sometimes they whisper songs of longing or shout with joy and thanksgiving. In the four gospels, there are many examples of Jesus himself praying—sometimes by himself, sometimes with others—and teaching the disciples to do the same.
Today we remember Henry, bishop of Uppsala, martyr, who died in 1156. This message was adapted from “Teach us to Pray” by Susan Schneider found in the December 2012 issue of Gather magazine.