In a lecture I listened to recently, Dr. Peter Kreeft said that “prayer doesn’t change God; prayer changes us.” It’s not a new notion; I’ve heard it before, and I know Dr. Kreeft would readily admit his “plagiarism.” (In one lecture, Dr. Kreeft refers to C. S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity as “the best book I’ve ever written,” laughing at his slip by referring to his “plagiarism” of Lewis’ ideas.)
Last night, I prayed for the first time in probably fifteen years, perhaps longer. I didn’t get on my knees; I didn’t follow any formal patterns or pronouncements. I simply found myself addressing thoughts to something or someone outside myself.
I admitted something that I never really thought I’d admit; it was something rather steeped in the Protestant formulations I’ve heard throughout my life: I’m a wretch. It suddenly became clear to me that I’m not the paragon of morality that I always thought I was. I’m cruel, and somewhat immature, and very competitive — not to mention hypocritical. The hypocrisy is somehow divinely ironic: I always prided myself on not lying, on being scrupulously honest, only to find I’ve been lying to myself all along.
Did it work? Did the prayer change me? The answer seems to be clear, doesn’t it?
Photo: Lel4nd at Flickr