Last night was the first of our eight-week Prayer Course, exploring the Lord’s Prayer. Then Jo and I went home to watch The Great British Bake-Off (recorded, whizzing through the advert breaks).
After a while, Jo said, “There’s a lot of prayer going on in that tent.”
And there was. It was striking. Again and again, as contestants put their biscuit mix in the oven, they commented:
“All I can do now is pray.”
“I just have to pray that it bakes in time.”
I don’t imagine that most of them would describe themselves as religious. And yet, their go-to is prayer. I can’t be certain, of course, but I think that what they are saying is:
“I’ve done all I can; and I know that it is not enough. I need the universe to smile on me. I need a little magic.”
What good is prayer? Well, prayer does two essential things. It connects us to a power that is greater than ourselves. And it reminds us that that power is not of ourselves.
Without that connection to a power greater than ourselves—however we understand that—we quickly deflate, give up. Without recognising that that power is not of ourselves, we become self-important, think too highly of ourselves, and, too little of others.
Prayer, as those in the know, know, both energises and grounds us.
Prayer won’t make biscuits cook any faster in an oven. But it will energise and ground the baker. It will empower them to enjoy the experience, no matter the outcome; not taking themselves too seriously, power to rise above being a sore loser or an inconsiderate winner; power to cheer on fellow competitors, to bond with others. Power to keep on baking, for others, beyond the tent.
It is not surprising that there is a lot of prayer in that tent. It is not surprising that there is a lot of prayer in the world.
Whatever you face today, take time to pray.