Is anything truly impossible? Or is it that the path to our goals appears too unclear to follow? It seems to me that if you seek hard enough, pray hard enough, you usually stumble across a scattering of breadcrumbs that marks the trail leading to the goal you once considered beyond your reach.
How many of us have conflicts with someone else- and how many of us pray for that person? We have individuals with whom we are competitive, or whom we dislike or have a quarrel with; but very few of us have true enemies in the martial sense. And yet if Lincoln could pray fervently- and contemporary reports indicate he did- for the people who were opposing him, how much more can we do for someone we just find a little irritating?
Atheism rises above creeds and puts Humanity upon one plane.
There can be no 'chosen people' in the Atheist philosophy.
There are no bended knees in Atheism;
No supplications, no prayers;
No sacrificial redemptions;
No 'divine' revelations;
No washing in the blood of the lamb;
No crusades, no massacres, no holy wars;
No heaven, no hell, no purgatory;
No silly rewards and no vindictive punishments;
No christs, and no saviors;
No devils, no ghosts and no gods.
What's prayer? It's shooting shafts into the dark. What mark they strike, if any, who's to say? It's reaching for a hand you cannot touch. The silence is so fathomless that prayers like plummets vanish into the sea. You beg. You whimper. You load God down with empty praise. You tell him sins that he already knows full well. You seek to change his changeless will. Yet Godric prays the way he breathes, for else his heart would wither in his breast. Prayer is the wind that fills his sail. Else drift with witless tides. And sometimes, by God's grace, a prayer is heard.
The most blessed result of prayer would be to rise thinking "But I never knew before. I never dreamed...." I suppose it was at such a moment that Thomas Aquinas said of all his own theology, "It reminds me of straw.
For Mercier, it was the ceremony of the mass that eased his soul: the sweetish smoke trailing from the censer, the ringing of the bell, the Latin incantations of the priest. In Warsaw, he attended early mass, at a small church near the apartment, once or twice a month, confessing to his vocational sins – duplicity, for example – in the oblique forms provided by Catholic protocol. He’d grown up an untroubled believer, but the war had put an end to that. What God could permit such misery and slaughter? But, in time, he had found consolation in a God beyond understanding and prayed for those he’d lost, for those he loved, and for an end to evil in the world.” ― Alan Furst, The Spies of Warsaw
Temples and churches have become social centers. They have lost their original purpose because the minds of the people are more attracted to worldly things than to prayer. The lips repeat the prayer mechanically like a phonograph record, but the mind wanders to other places. (23-24)
Mortals were such fickle creatures. They called into the dark, demanded answers and attention from forces they could not comprehend, and yet when they had that attention and those answers, they complained about them.
Again, "Pray without ceasing" (1 Thess. 5:17), and here the word to pray does not mean to beg or to plead as if God were unwilling to give--but simply to expose by faith every situation as it arises, to the all-sufficiency of the One who indwells you by His life.
Even if you can’t be totally mindful at every meal, if you can say a blessing, silently if necessary, or offer up a prayer for someone, something beyond yourself and your food, the prayer helps to transform eating into something that affects not only our hunger at that moment but the greater world.
The saints, too, had wandering minds. The saints, too, had constantly to recall their constantly wandering mind-child home. They became saints because they continued to go after the little wanderer, like the Good Shepherd.