For prayer is nothing else than being on terms of friendship with God. – Saint Teresa of Avila
This week presidential maybe Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker had his Christian faith mocked by the liberal blog, Political Wire, published by Taegan Goddard. Under a snarky headline “Walker Has Not Communicated with God,” Goddard wrote:
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) frequently says he’s waiting for “God’s calling” to run for President, so he was recently asked under public records laws to provide “A copy/transcript of all communications with God, the Lord, Christ, Jesus or any form of deity.”
Walker’s office responded that no such records exist. Goddard then promoted his story in social media with this tweet:
Gov. Scott Walker’s office was unable to provide any transcripts of his conversations with God.
These comments brought a firestorm on Goddard and he eventually deleted his mocking tweets from Twitter and betrayed his ignorance of basic Christian beliefs when he seemed genuinely confused that Walker believed prayer could be used to communicate with God. He simply did not know how prayer works. Hard to believe that anyone, even an atheist, would not understand the concept of prayer.
From the earliest recorded times mankind has lifted up its eyes and understood that there is a higher power and communicated devotion in some way. Every religion recognizes prayer as a way to commune with God. There are 650 prayers listed in the Bible with about 450 recorded answers to prayer. Christians like Gov. Walker understand the principle of discernment–-the process of determining God’s desire for the direction of our lives.
At first I was outraged by Mr. Goddard’s mockery of one of the basic tenets of the Christian faith but then I began to feel pity for him. I personally cannot imagine my life without prayer. All my life I have had so many prayers answered. Sometimes the answer has been no and it might be years before I can see the reason why and the longer I live the more I see a pattern for my life– pain, sorrow, joy, love—all interwoven with a complexity that is awe inspiring. To me prayer brings peace. It brings forgiveness. To be without prayer would be a living death devoid of hope.
Sen. John McCain relates how he and his fellow POWs had “church” every Sunday while in captivity in Vietnam. After the midday meal and after the guards had departed, the senior officer would signal it was time to pray together by coughing in a way that signaled the letter “c” for church. Orson Swindle, a fellow prisoner said it was a solid stream of thought among those there. They would silently say the Pledge of Allegiance, the 23rd Psalm and the Lord’s Prayer and anything else they’d want to say to get them some help. All of this was done in silence because if the guards heard them talking they would come in and start torturing them. Prayer was the way they shared Christian fellowship and it gave them the strength to survive until they were released.
I’ve always admired people who could pray eloquently, but prayer doesn’t have to be eloquent. It doesn’t have to be long. It just has to be sincere. The Bible tells us to pray without ceasing and I believe the simple prayers that I utter throughout the day are heard and acknowledged. The Bible also tells us that the Holy Spirit will intercede and pray for us when we are too overcome to pray for ourselves.
Every day we see ISIS capturing and killing Christians. It is monstrous to think that a group of people have perverted one religion to justify destroying people of another religion. I am heartsick as I pray for these martyrs daily but I am comforted by Romans 8:38-39 For I am sure that neither death nor life nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. I know each Christian who is killed is in the arms of God.
So instead of being angry with Mr. Goddard I am going to pray for him. I am going to pray that God will open his eyes and reveal his greatness and love so that he can also know the power and beauty of prayer. I am going to end this blog with my favorite prayer – the 23rd Psalm.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever. Amen.