One Person tunes in to us 24 hours a day.

Prayer. say the Word, write it, and you sense a stillness, a quieting.

It is necessary to make only a brief survey of the world’s religions to observe that prayer is a major, vital part of every faith. Indeed, it might be said that faith without communication is arid, sterile, empty.

Prayer is communication. It is communication that seems perforce to be one-sided, for though God speaks to many, they are rare and unusual souls who choose to quiet themselves enough to hear the “still, small voice” from within. It is uncomfortable to hear God speak, for frequently the things he asks us to do seem far from our own wishes and ambitions.

I enjoyed watching the film Oh, God! starring George Burns and John Denver. Each time I have seen it I have been struck by the casual yet profound theology inherent in the movie. In the story, God appears to a young man in the loveable, accessible, and truly human form of Mr. Burns. As the appearances and accompanying miracles increase, so do the man’s love for God and his alienation from and ostracism by his fellow humans. Finally, God indicates he will not put in any more command performances. The anguished young man asks, “But won’t I be able to talk to you anymore?” God twinkles. “You talk,” he responds; “I’ll listen.”

That is prayer. True, we do the talking; but there is always a listening Ear. The promise is there. What an incredible gift that is! How many times have we wished that our human companions might be “better listeners”? In prayer we have Someone powerful enough to create a universe yet gentle enough to care for a sparrow, who is eager to listen to us with full and undivided attention.

“You talk. I’ll listen.”

Moreover, if we listen very carefully, ...

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