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    Prayer is Preparation for Action

      Prayer is not escape from reality and from action; it is the source of strength and insight for action. It is the only preparation for sound action.

      Prayer is not the pleading to be saved suffering; it is the pleading that one will be spared no suffering which is necessary to achieve the end one desires: unity with God and co-consciousness with all men.

      Prayer expresses itself fundamentally in the two great Christian attitudes toward life: gratitude and contrition. Gratitude springs from a sacramental view which sees the earth and the creatures of it as the whole creation of God and stands in awe and wonder before the majesty of God's handiwork. Contrition springs from man's recognition of his failure to act on that fact, recognition of his constant effort to make himself God and the center of life, instead of giving central place to God, Author of all creation.

      Out of this dialectic springs a synthesis which is the unity of the self in resolution so to act that this creation of God's may be made more pleasing in the sight of God; that man may be made again in the image of god.

      There is danger that prayers such as "Grant us brotherhood" may become substitutes for positive action toward creation of brotherhood in the world. It is a trick of the human spirit to turn to abstract worship of something which man will not pay the price to achieve--so vicariously he enjoys the fruits of it in an idealistic worship of something of which the realities of the world make a mockery.

      Kneeling alone in a dark garden in an ultimate crisis of his life, Jesus said, "Father, may this cup pass from me." But that was not the end of his prayer. Had he--as we so often do--proceeded to rationalize the ways in which an answer might come; the course of human history might have been different. Instead, he carried that prayer--a legitimate cry of the human spirit--on to the absolutely essential conclusion, "Nevertheless not as I will but as thou wilt." And his action, following that prayer, has changed the pattern of human history.

      � Rose Terlin, from Prayer and Christian Living

      The Choice is Always Ours