Alice C. Linsley
Consider the Jewish girl at prayer to whom the Archangel Gabriel appeared with a message that changes everything for her and for all people in all time and space. Then try to convince me there is no power in prayer.
The prayerful Virgin Mother taught us to pray for surely, her Blessed Son learned to pray at her knee as much as in the local synagogue. They teach us to pray for our daily bread, for forgiveness, and for protection from evil.
All life is to be wrapped in prayer. The Lord's Prayer gives us no sense that bread and forgiveness are unrelated or that praying for protection is superstition. That prayer's realistic view of life enhances its potency.
C.S. Lewis wrote, "What we do when we weed a field is not quite different from what we do when we pray for a good harvest. But there is an important difference all the same." (Work and Prayer)
The day begins with prayer, for we need to clear away the detritus of dreams and the inertia of first light.
Our meals begin with prayer, for we need to be reminded of God's bountiful goodness.
We pray with our children, for they need to learn the words of holy parents.
We pray with our fellow Christians, for we need each other for comfort, strength, and encouragement.
We join in liturgical prayers, giving hardy assent to joint praises and petitions, just as our Jewish Lord did throughout his earthly life.
Those who disdain liturgical prayers as "vain repetition" should count how many times favorite phrases are repeated in the ex tempore prayers of their clergy.
As C.S. Lewis notes, liturgical prayers can set "our devotions free"... and prevent us from "getting too completely eaten up by whatever happens to be the preoccupation of the moment (i.e., war, an election, or what not)."
Lewis notes that in the liturgical prayers of the Church, "The permanent shape of Christianity shows through." (Letters to Malcolm, 1 April 1952)
Note how that permanent shape is expressed in these liturgical prayers.
Prayer of Humble Access (Anglican)We do not presume to come to this thy Table,
Liturgy of Malabar (Oriental Orthodox)