Ed's piece reminds me of the words of C.S. Lewis, who, when he was questioned about his prayers to God after his wife, Joy Gresham died, answered "I don't pray because prayer changes God. I pray because it flows out of me; because I need to pray. It doesn't change God; it changes me" (paraphrase from the movie, Shadowlands).
What Ed has described is a compulsivity to prayer. That is, prayer leaps out of us unbounded, joyful, and sometimes mournful, but always free and unfettered, just like the child who can hardly wait to tell his mother or father some exciting tidbit of information -- he can't wait, he just has to interrupt everything else around him to make his voice heard. That is prayer. That is freedom in Christ. That is the enthusiastic impulse of the Holy Spirit in us driving us toward our loving, doting heavenly Father.
Now, though Ed's article was excellently written and very insightful, I did pose one question to him. I needed some clarification on his last sentence, "Cold and calculative prayers are hardly worthy of the name."
So I posted the following comment on his site.
"But is it worth the discipline? For example, prescribed prayers often help when ex corde moments leave a person without words (e.g., being overwhelmed by an emotional experience and not able to formalize understanding enough to speak
on the experience). In those instances, the calculative nature of a prescribed prayer is valuable -- and definitely worth it -- because prescriptions help verbalise instinctual movements of the heart.
What are your thoughts?
Also, I'm going to link my readership to your article on prayer because I think it is a wonderful piece that touches very tenderly on the intimacy, and compulsive nature of prayer.
Thank you for your insights, Ed."
Indeed, Ed. Thank you very much for your warm-hearted understanding on such an important topic.
Artwork via Canadian artist Oliver Ray.