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First let us consider what prayer is. Prayer is communion with God, thanking God for those many unspeakable gifts he has given and asking forgiveness for our many sins. Do we pray in this manner, or do we get on our knees and prayer for things that are utterly impossible? I am afraid that the we are too often guilty of the latter. Some may say, how can we get away from this form of prayer? I think the answer may be found in that line taken from Emerson's essay on Self-Reliance "As soon as man is at one with God, he will not beg." How true this statement is, if we are truely trusting in God for our salvation. For we know that God has promised that he will withhold nothing good from us if we are truely his followers.

Another thing enters here, how often when we pray do we merely recite words? We do this especially in saying the Lord's Prayer. Listen sometime to a group of people praying this prayer. Do they really sound in earnest, or is the prayer lifeless and without expression? We should contemplate about those words we are saying and truly pray with earnestness in our voices.

Another question we might ask ourselves is, Should we be ashamed to pray? There are many times when Christians find themselves in difficult situations, thus making it hard for them to pray. But I do not think anyone should be ashamed to pray. We should get great joy from praying. Of course, there will be those people who will mock and scorn us. Still we must not be swayed by other people but rely on what we ourselves believe is right. There are many, many times in the Bible where we are told to pray. Should we then be ashamed to pray if it was God's desire that we should? Prayer must persist if it is to prevail.

Still we may ask ourselves another important question. Are our prayers worthwhile? Some people say to us, "My prayers are never answered." This may be because they asked for foolish things and the prayer probably was not asked in a prayerful manner, but we who are Christians know that prayers are worthwhile. Take for instance, the great revival that is now going on in Wheaton College. One of the officials of the college has said, "One of the main reasons for this revival was prayer. Prayer was behind it - believing prayer - united prayer." The pupils at Wheaton had prayed earnestly for weeks, asking for a revival at the school so that they might be brought closer to God. These prayers have been answered and a great revival has been going on for several months. Think of the stories the missionaries have told us of prayers being answered in the wilds of Africa and in many other countries. We know that right here at home prayers have been answered. We have heard our ministers pray and afterwards these things have come to us. I think that we can see for ourselves that our prayers are worthwhile if they are prayed in the true spirit.

Thus I think we find that prayer is a beautiful thing if we are worthy of giving it. It is worthwhile and we should not be ashamed to administer it.

Jane Young
English Essay
March 23, 1936

(Grade: A)