In March, just after the start of the war, I wrote a piece for our online edition, responding to the plethora of prayer headlines that cast prayer as a form of corporate consolation ("Seeking Solace in Time of Fear: Religious Leaders Tread Carefully To Soothe Worried Worshipers" is typical). I asked rhetorically, "Is anyone in these churches telling these journalists that they are missing the biggest story going on in these prayer meetings—that prayer actually changes things?"
Genuine prayer brings both comfort and discomfort, assurance and confusion, exhilaration and discouragement as we seek God's way for our lives and for the world. Prayer is not a means to getting comfortable but is a way of life for believers. And that's why we in the CT hallway gather each Monday morning at 10:15 to pray together. The prayer requests run the gamut, from thankfulness for safe journeys to healing for cancer to peace in the Middle East.
So hard-bitten, hard-drinking, cynical journalists we're not. Because prayer is an important part of all of our lives (though most of us would admit it's not as important as it should be!), I asked the editors to tell me about a prayer practice or book that energizes them, especially in times like these.
Ted Olsen: "One of my favorites is 2,000 Years of Prayer, compiled by Michael Counsell. It's organized by chronological theme (e.g., Celtic Christianity, Puritans, etc.) rather than strictly by chronology or subject, but the selections are excellent. In times of national crisis such as this one, I tend to do a lot of listening prayer. In times of personal crisis, all bets are off—I pray all sorts of ways."
Agnieszka Tennant: "Whenever I tell my spiritual director about an experience that moved me, to laughter ...1
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