modern prayer

Some quotes from Harry Emerson Fosdick’s ‘The Three Meanings: Prayer, Faith & Service’ – Chapter 1, on the ‘naturalness’ of prayer:

 

On prayer and Modernity…

Modern scepticism has done all that it could to make prayer unreasonable. It has viewed the world as a machine, regular as an automaton, uncontrollable as sunrise. It has made whatever God there is a prisoner in the laws of his own world, powerless to assist his children. It has denied everything that makes prayer possible; and yet men, having believed all that sceptical thought says, still have their times of prayer. Like an artesian well, walled up by modern concrete, prayer still seeps through, it breaks out; nature is stronger than artifice, and streams flowing underground in our lives insist on finding vent. (11-12)

 

On lasting universal latency of prayer…

Can it be that all men, in all ages and all lands, have been engaged in “talking forever to a silent world from which no answer comes”? If we can be sure of anything, is it not this – that wherever a human function has persisted, unwearied by time, uncrushed by disappointment, rising to noblest form and finest use in the noblest and finest souls, that function corresponds with some Reality? Hunger never could have persisted without food, nor breathing without air, nor intellectual life without truth, nor prayer without God. Burke said that it was difficult to press an indictment against a nation. It is far more difficult to sustain a charge against all mankind. (13)