Perhaps there is scarcely one who grows to manhood or womanhood without questioning the rationale of prayer. God being Infinite and Omniscient, can a petition alter the course that He sees best? Are we not unconsciously asserting that God is not sufficiently beneficial to us, and we therefore place before Him a way in which we would that He will show us extra kindness? Yet the failure to get answers at once and directly; to such prayers have turned many a one to bitter mockery, incredulity, or indifference. A beloved one lies dying, the prayer of agony goes up for mercy that this dear life be not taken. But the loved one goes to the beyond, and the aching heart in its woe; bitterly declares that there can be no God, or He would be more just. Some bright gift of fortune is desired, and one prays that it be given one, but the gay promise fades, and the disappointed hopes declare that God cannot be, or He would surely give what will make life fair and happy. "What is the use of praying?—we never get what we want," is the careless response we too often hear.
But are any of these prayers in the true sense of the word?
Vast ages have rolled away into the abysses of Time, and throughout them all God has ever been One, watching, waiting, bringing all things to their appointed end. We do not know yet because we are not one with Him; but He knows, and adjusts with perfect balance each life, then ran we cry out against His wisdom? Prayer taken in its very highest sense is an endeavor to so rid oneself of all separatives that only identity of one's inmost self with the Life of God is comprehended. Then must there ring out the triumphant cry, "I and my Father are One." Unity, equality, Oneness! This is the instinctive cry of the people, Unity! The point towards which the nations press through bloodshed and mistake is oneness with God. Intellect cries unto intellect from land to land, from age to age, and hears full thrilling response.
Is not that tenderest of all hymns, "Thy will be done," the flinging aside of all that fetters, that narrows, to let the full glory of God shine within us?
Each life is a prayer, a light to the world; let none darken it with evil, with contempt for his brother man who stands below him, nor with scorn for others' weaknesses.
Not one Great Teacher but who plunged e'en among the foul dens to cleanse them. What such vile things are in the sight of God we puny mortals cannot say.
He of prayerful life, that is of clean heart, cannot stand in judgment upon his fellow-men. Too long, too long has the cry gone out that those of other faiths are "idolaters." Every human heart worships humbly before the highest it can conceive and calls it God. What matters it, then, what the external form may be, for God loveth the world, and will give better when He seeth the need for them. He giveth the best, and none other. The needs of humanity are varied, but the great and glorious deeds and teachings of Truth in every age and every land truly proclaim that they have been wrought in God.
When we have solved the full meaning of such a life of true prayer, then indeed will the Kingdom of God be nigh unto us.