When we pray we are fulfilling God’s purpose for our lives

Published 8:01 am Monday, June 17, 2024

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From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham

Dear Rev. Graham: It’s hard for me to pray. I am a doer – I relate to the phrase of being my own captain. I’m not bragging about it; I’m quite discouraged because I know as a Christian my position should be one of humbling myself before the Lord – not leading the charge! – D.P.

Dear D.P.: Prayer was as natural as breathing for our Lord, and it should be the same for us. If prayer is an integral part of our lives, when a crisis comes we have already prepared those lines of communication.

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In the beginning, man was fashioned to live in fellowship with God and in humble dependence upon Him. When we pray we are fulfilling God’s purpose for our lives, realizing our spiritual potential. As someone has said, “Prayer is the highest use to which speech can be put.”

The British author William Ernest Henley wrote “Invictus,” which has been studied by students for generations. The poem expresses feelings that sound so noble:

“It matters not how strait the gate, how charged with punishments the scroll,

I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.”

All this looks very brave on paper, but when death took Henley’s 6-year-old daughter, Margaret, he was heartbroken and began to realize that he was not the master of his fate. When she neared death, his bravado completely disappeared.

This kind of an attitude cannot be the stance of the Christian in any situation, particularly in the face of suffering. We are not the masters of our fate, either as individuals or as a nation. How can people boast that they control their own destiny when they cannot solve the problems of war, racism, poverty, sickness, or suffering? The world is being carried along on a rushing torrent of events. But there’s one power available to support us in the great crises of life: the power of prayer.


(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)