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infected by the pride of life or the lust not the evidence of medical experts. of the eye; or to say, 'Forgive us our Secondly, there are those who, frankly trespasses, as we forgive those who admitting that prayer cannot change trespass against us,' and lightly to har- the course of disease, advocate it as a bor schemes of revenge. To pray consolation to the sufferer and to his thus is to make confession and to seek friends. This is no doubt often true: it amendment, and will remain the refuge is a sound and charitable reason for of sinful humanity long after it has praying; but it is likely to lose its abandoned all belief in the magical efficacy when its motive is perceived. power of petition to the Almighty. Finally, there are those who think that
Thus prayer means petition, com- in some mysterious way they can by munion, aspiration, and confession. In prayer divert a stream of energy to a the public worship of the churches peti. sick person, and so make him better. tion has always been put in the first conceivably this is true, though perplace, and naturally so, for it is histori- sonally I doubt it. But why should cally the most prominent. Neverthe- this stream of energy be most effectual less probably few educated men believe when put into the form of petition to in its efficacy. The laws of life — God? It seems to me that if there be which is the Will of God — are not any truth in this theory it is not so changed in their working by prayer, much that prayer diverts a stream of sacrifice, or fasting.
healing energy as that it serves as a The most striking example of this “suggestion,' focusing all the powers of fact is the crudest and simplest. In resistance and recuperation which the my boyhood, it was still customary to sick may possess but be unable to pray for fine weather, or, in the rarer 'will’ to use. That this may be valuoccasions when the English climate able, should be practised and studied, demanded it, for rain. The custom is I do not doubt; but is it prayer? In any now, I fancy, almost dead. It has not case it is not the same thing as the been killed by any atrophy of religion, strictly supplicating prayer of our anbut by increased knowledge of meteor cestors, which was a petition to God ology. If you teach the public in the who might be persuaded to do what He newspaper every week-day that the might otherwise not have done. weather is fixed through complicated My own attention was once called laws, that if the barometer is rising somewhat painfully to the unconscious fair weather is probable, while rain change of thought which has affected may be expected if it is falling, you almost everyone in this matter. I was cannot expect them to believe on taking charge of a church for a friend Sunday that the humidity of the who was going away for a fortnight. atmosphere will be affected by prayer. “You will have,' he said, 'nothing much
Nor is the question very different to do. But poor Mr. Smith is very ill, with regard to prayer in time of sick and Dr. Brown has promised to let you ness, though the issue is often ob- know if it becomes hopeless, so that scured by pious people who cling to the you can put him into the prayers.' I custom, and do not analyze their be- was very young at the time, and it was lief. Opinion on this subject probably somewhat of a shock to me to realize ranges itself into three groups. There that 'praying for someone in the are those who still think that prayer church, by the customary device of will cure disease; the belief of innumer- dropping to a lower note the voice able generations supports them, but which had hitherto monotoned the service on G, and announcing that ‘The do more justice to their significance. prayers of the congregation are desired Members of non-liturgical churches for M, who is seriously ill,' had become seem rarely to understand that it is the a means of preparing friends for bad dramatic, not the theological side of news, under the pretense of asking the the service which makes itself felt, Almighty for help. The shock to that many members of the congregayoung minds when they discover such tion are purified and inspired by the changes as this alienates more of them service as a whole, without ever stopfrom the churches than any direct at- ping to think about its meaning; intack could ever do. The tragedy is that deed, if they did they would probably the churches do not know it, for the cease to be inspired. In any case, petiyoung do not say much about it; they tions written five hundred or fifteen merely stop going to church. The hundred years ago cease to be regarded death of churches is not likely to be as petitions in the same way as those violent or spectacular, for controversy which at least pretend to be the ferimplies life. The deadly sequence of vent supplication of a minister for the symptoms is when one generation goes special congregation. to church, supports it financially and Obviously the non-liturgical Protesprevents all change in the customs of tant churches are in a very different the forefathers; the second generation position. Every Sunday the minister is continues the support, but otherwise responsible for the ‘long prayer' as it leaves it alone; the third generation is usually called. He is supposed to abandons it altogether.
make it apply to the needs of his conThat the religion of to-morrow will gregation; it is – at least in form have prayer I do not doubt, unless the an extempore performance marked by churches should be so foolish as to fervor and unction. If it be not sincere insist that Prayer must include Peti- the salt has lost its savor. It is tradition, in which case they will keep the tionally always in the idiom of petiword, and another name will be given tion, but it is significant how many to the reality. For I do not believe Liberal ministers endeavor to quiet that the religion of to-morrow will have their conscience, which dislikes that any more place for petition than it idiom, by passing — if I may somewill have for any other form of magic. what abuse the grammarian's language But how are the churches going to deal — through the optative mood to an with the question? It is a matter which oratio obliqua intended to express the especially affects the non-liturgical aspirations of the congregation. I canchurches, strange as it may seem. In a not resist the conviction that this can liturgical church the prayers are fre. be but a temporary expedient, and I quently unintelligible to the congrega- believe that this question of petition in tion. In the Catholic Church they are prayer is the most difficult problem in Latin, in the English Church and which the non-liturgical churches have Protestant Episcopal Church of Amer- to face. It is to them what the quesica they are in an archaic idiom which tion of the creeds is to the liturgical diverts attention from the strangeness churches. of its meaning by the beauty of its To see this is not difficult, but merely sound. Converts and strangers may to abandon the custom of prayer becriticize the doctrine of these prayers, cause we no longer believe in the effibut we, who neglect it because we cacy of petition would be to throw away have been born in the church, perhaps the grain in an effort to be rid of the chaff.
the historment. He gain Catholic, often
souls from the far path
Prayer, it was said above, is not only the historian is a myth connected with petition, but also communion and the sacrament. He gains spiritual help. aspiration. What will the religion of Moreover others, not Catholic, often to-morrow say about communion and feel the value of the service. The aspiration?
Protestant goes to his service, believing If the religious life of the future con- in the subjective value of the service, tains 'public worship’ as an integral and that its importance is entirely in part of its manifestation, it will be be- the effect which it has on the congregacause many men feel that not in soli- tion. He hopes that the sermon of tude but in the company of others who the minister, supported by some slight have a like necessity do they most feel musical introduction, and a few hymns, the communion of a higher power, do will somehow do him good. He is they cleanse their souls from impurities often disappointed, he goes less freand littlenesses, and light the flame of quently, and his children are ceasing aspiration which illumines their path to go at all. The danger to the Cathothrough the darkness of daily life. lic Church is that it will fail to satisfy
Indeed, it is becoming increasingly the intellect, which will reject the clear that to stimulate and quicken Church's interpretation of the Mass; communion and aspiration – what to the Protestant that it will not satisfy ever explanation may be adopted of the soul, which is not nourished by the the experience covered by these words service. The religion of to-morrow - is likely to be the main purpose of will doubtless devise a method which the services of the church of to-mor- will satisfy both intellect and soul. If row, though this will be a serious neither Catholics nor Protestants can breach with the tradition of the past; mend their ways, both will perish, but for in the Catholic Church the services Religion will survive. . are means of salvation, and in the Just as to stimulate and develop Protestant Church have been hitherto this sense of communion and aspiration largely, if not chiefly, means of instruc- is the work of the churches, so to tion. Nevertheless, Protestants of the analyze and explain it is the task of the
cepted the change indicated.
yet what their answer will be. The
value, which seems to mean subjective pears to be with some external power, rather than objective. Catholics while is that appearance correct, or is the of course asserting the spiritual value communion really with some part of of the service would maintain that this the man's own nature which is ordi. value is objective — it is in the service narily submerged? Only the profesnot in the frame of mind of the con- sional psychologist is really competent to gregation. Nevertheless, the paradoxi- discuss this question properly, but anycal truth is that the Catholic service one can see that it is not an idle one, is more successful than the Protestant and that any answer gives rise to others. in giving the subjective value. The It is common experience that whereas Catholic goes to Mass, believing in the our words and actions are usually the objective supernatural value of the result of conscious rational thoughts, service, and for him it does not depend there are moments when we are — so at all on the presence of a congregation it seems both to ourselves and to to be 'valid'; for he accepts what to others — in the clutch of a higher power, sometimes inspiring us to good, of our usual psychical balance, anyone sometimes to evil deeds and words. of us may relapse for a time into the God and the Devil are the explanation condition of primitive man, with priwhich theologians have given to this mary instincts, and animistic thoughts. duplex phenomenon.
But some at least would hold that it The psychology of to-day has ques- contains also the germ of all the tioned this explanation. It seems to achievements and triumphs which will many who have most deeply studied make life better and fuller for our dethe question, that our conscious life of scendants. If by the splendor of art or reason has a deep penumbra of which the inspiration of religion this side of we are not habitually conscious. It us be roused into life, we become makes itself felt only when emotion or capable of rising for the moment to some other cause calls it up into action. the heights which only our remote It contains all the instincts, ethics, descendants will fully master, and we and thoughts of the past generations, become living prophecies of a new whose history is latent in every indi- world. For the Devil is the ghost of vidual. If this side of it be called into primitive man, and God is the unborn action by some momentary collapse life of the world that is yet to be.
THE SOUL'S SINCERE DESIRE
BY GLENN CLARK
than any paparticular answer,
I do not know why God should have came the impulse to share it with othblessed me for the past two years with ers — to pass it on that they too might an almost continuous stream of an have their burdens eased and their swered prayer. Some of the answers paths made smooth. But whenever I were marvelous, many unexplainable, approached a friend to tell him how I all of them joy-giving. But, greater prayed, my brain stumbled and words than any particular blessing that came failed me. My method was so simple, with any particular answer, greater so natural, it seemed to me, that its very than the combined blessings of all the simplicity defied analysis. Like the air combined answers, was a gift, a bless. I breathed it could not be captured and ing, that was so much larger, so much confined in any form. more inclusive than all the other specialSo two years went by. Then one day gifts, that it encompassed all within it- while walking home from college a stuself. I refer to the peace and happiness dent said to me: ‘I wish very much that and absolute liberation from the bond- you would tell me how you pray. age of fear and anger and the life-de- Won't you tell me sometime?' It sudstroying emotions that came to me and dently occurred to me that this was the revealed to me the practicability of first time anyone had put that question finding the Kingdom of Heaven in the to me. I do not know whether it is that practical world of men.
every question has its own answer reConcomitant with this great blessing siding in it, just as every seed contains
find yourself i
braintion leaped full-fie answer to this
the entire life plan of the completed Let me stand in the market-place plant; or whether the commands of with the physical culturists and deJesus, ‘Ask, and it shall be given you; mand, as they demand, fifteen minutes seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it of your time every day for two months. shall be opened unto you,' were meant And while I hesitate to promise, as they to be applied to questions we ask of each promise, that at the end of that time other as well as questions we ask of God you will find yourself a new man, this I when we do so in the spirit of Christian can say: at the end of that time you will humility and love; but this I do know: find yourself in a new world. You will late in the evening the answer to this find yourself in a friendly universe, question leaped full-fledged into my where religion will no longer be a thing brain. For two years I had striven in vain to be believed or disbelieved, a thing to to answera question that no one hadever be worn or cast off, but where religion asked; and then in a twinkling, before a will be a part of life as blood is a part of question asked in all sincerity and with the body. You will find yourself in a honest purpose, the answer came. new world where your God no longer
The essay which follows contains the dwells in churches and meeting-places answer to that question. I wish to have and forms and days, but where He govit clearly understood, however, that I erns every minute of every day of every do not wish the method here described year. You will find yourself in a new to become a formula. I offer it rather world where immortality will no longer as an opening of doors and windows be sought as something far away, to be through which man's soul may find found at some far distant time, for you liberation from the confinement of the will know that you are immortal now things which bind, and expand a bit to and that the entire universe with all its meet the ever-expanding love of God. good and with all its beauty belongs to
I find the ‘frame' for my method in you now and forever. the Lord's Prayer and the Twenty- Let us take then as our model the third Psalm. I say 'frame' because zeal and steadfastness of the physical either one of these can be recited in culturist and utilize it in the field of the less than half a minute, and a prayer spirit. To associate these two fields in such as we materialistically minded our mind will prove very helpful for moderns need is one which will demand our present purpose, for a prayer should at least fifteen minutes of our time. be for the spirit exactly what calisthen
In this day of the coliseum, the gym ics should be for the body — something nasium, and the ‘daily dozen,'I know it to keep one in tune, fit, vital, efficient may sound impractical and visionary and constantly ready for the next probto suggest that the spirit deserves as lem of life. much care as the body. But is not our Now what are the underlying princispiritual health as important to our ples in Walter Camp's Daily Dozen? well-being as our physical health? Is 1. The first principle is that the man not the life more than the food, and the shall stretch his muscles, as the body more than the raiment? Is not caged lion stretches, whenever he the kernel within the seed and the sap can. And, mark you, the muscles within the oak — in other words, that that are seen are not so important as which is within, vitalizing, propelling the muscles that are unseen – in the life processes — more important the language of Walter Camp, 'the than that which is without and can be muscles under the ribs.' This should seen and touched?
be the first principle of prayer also.
than tha, processes anizing, prons that