|Dan Masterton ’11
What’s the point of prayer anyway? It’s tempting to envision God as a magic genie who grants wishes, a faraway spirit that doesn’t interact with us, or maybe just an accountant tracking good and evil.
Luckily, we imaginative humans have an incarnational God who graciously became human and walked the earth as one of us to give us an example. God acted among us in the life of Christ and continues through the Holy Spirit that dwells among us. God even showed us how to pray and reassured us of prayer’s function and value. So what is it?
The night our first child was born, I was up with the baby. My wife was finally resting, and I had a quiet opportunity to be alone with our daughter. Holding Lucy, who couldn’t speak and could barely move, profoundly impacted my heart.
My instinct was to open a conversation between God and her and me. I asked many open, hopeful questions: “Who will you be? What will you want and need from me? How will I be able to help and love you? What will you teach me? How long will you let me hold your hand?”
I wouldn’t say the moment yielded any epiphanies, but it reinforced the power of prayer as God’s accompaniment. God became one of us and is with us always until the end of time. God even modeled how to pray, reminding us that we glimpse God’s kingdom when we do God’s will.
In this moment of almost-monastic, vulnerable, quiet encounter, God dwelled with Katherine, Lucy, and me. It’s that accompaniment that continues in my family’s prayer today and helps me consciously carry the love of God, who’s always close.