There is no substitute for prayer. In calling me to be a man of prayer, God calls me to more praying and less scheming. The fact is: the more time I spend entangled in the maze of scheming, the less time I spend in the haven of prayer.
To pray is to be a child again—for true prayer is never self-sufficient. True prayer is always:
These are childlike prayers. They are prayers of wonder
long blades of grass,
red flower petals,
fleeting bird calls
and enduring mountain ranges
take my breath away
with the Near Otherness
of the Father Almighty.
He is a fire: both the light of reason and the heat of passionate affection. Do I divert my gaze to the scattered, fleeting sparks or do I abide by the flame? This is the question of true prayer.
In true prayer I am contingent. Without it I am a storm-tossed boat; with it I am anchored at home.
True prayer is honest. If I try to hide what I feel and think from God, I am not truly praying. God would rather I bring my honest selfishness to him than a pretense of sanctity.
In true prayer I realize I am not holy—and that is precisely why I pray—because he is holy and somehow he can make me holy simply by faith. I do not know how it works, but it can only happen by faith. Children are the best believers; the kingdom only belongs to such as these who have no power to do anything but believe.
Finally, true prayer cannot be summed up in less than 310 words. It asks forgiveness for trying and expresses gratitude for receiving these trifles as prayer nonetheless.