Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Prayer fact check

In these days of social media claims and counter-claims, we are warned to be on the lookout for fake news.  Sometimes fact checks are provided by objective analysts who survey the data in order to try and set the record straight.  Thinking about my last post: 'In yer face' I was wondering about a claim I read recently.  It was in a book The Open Secret (1906). As an aside, let me say that I often find stimulus in reading old books (especially by preachers). Written by a man who in his day was an influential preacher - R. F. Horton- its language is inevitably a bit 1906.  So, he writes of the 'prayer closet' thinking of the quiet place to which we go in daily prayer   Anyway, this is the sentence that made me stop and think.

 People who have met God much in the prayer closet cannot but recognize each other in the world; they have a secret sign and a mutual understanding; in the golden atmosphere of prayer their outlines merge and their hearts unite.

It made me think.  Do people who pray consistently and quietly on their own recognize others who similarly practice prayer like this?  Do they have share a secret sign with mutual understanding?  Is there really a golden atmosphere of prayer that unites people at a deeper level?

Of course, you have to be practicing prayer that truly meets God in order both to be recognizable to others and also to realize that you are recognizable by a secret sign!  Looking back over my ministry I can recall certain people who immediately struck me as having a deep interior spiritual life (though I certainly was on the shallower side!) Sadly, I guess the opposite applies too.  I remember Sister Margaret Magdalene speaking at a ministers' conference and warning that the prayerless person stands out a mile a way. Horton's claim in an old book raises an important point - is it true or false?

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