The Last Sunday Night Journal, December 30, 2018
Two Readings of Eliot's "Journey of the Magi"

Sister Wendy on Prayer

I think we have one of her books on art but I've never spent any time with it. As I've often mentioned here, my interest in the visual arts is considerably less than my interest in literature and music. She died the day after Christmas and this 2006 interview was reprinted in the Catholic Herald.

“Well people find prayer hard because it’s so simple, so painfully simple,” she replies. “That’s the hardness. I would say that the essential test of whether you are a Christian is whether you actually pray. If you don’t pray you don’t truly believe. You believe in some kind of God who is an evil God because if you truly believe in the real God, then you want to be close to Him.” 

"Alarming reading," as the interviewer says. 


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Doesn't that "alarming" refer to what comes next in that piece?

In a striking passage of her new book, Sister Wendy describes how terrible prayer can be. “‘Our God is a consuming fire’ and my filth crackles as He seizes hold of me,” she writes.

This is alarming reading for your average sinner. If Sister Wendy, who has dedicated her life to worshipping God, finds prayer frightening, it risks being utterly terrifying for the rest of us. “The only question is whether you want God,” insists Sister Wendy, however. “If you want Him then you want your filth to crackle.

I guess you're right, since he specifically says "reading", but I took it to refer to both paragraphs. One might be scarier than other to any particular person. I think there are a lot of nominal Christians who rarely pray and the conclusion she draws from that is pretty scary.

Yes, I agree about that also being scary, especially that "If you don’t pray you don’t truly believe", which always crosses my mind when I listen to sermons that never mention prayer.

I am reading Abandonment to Divine Providence by Jean-Pierre de Caussade, and one of the earlier headings is, "It is so easy to be holy." When I read this a couple of years ago, I put a big exclamation point after it.

I'm not sure that all Christians who don't pray are thinking that God is evil, I think maybe some of them have just let themselves get distracted. I'm sure they remember to pray when something bad is going on.


As well you might! (re the big exclamation point).

I didn't take her to be saying that people who don't pray actually believe in an evil God, but rather rhetorically making the point that they are behaving as if they don't think very highly of him. There's a tendency to to think of him as sort of a tiresome old relative who is in a position to grant certain favors and so must be given attention. I can certainly see a bit of that in myself, though I'm happy to say less than there used to be.

"If you don't pray you don't truly believe " is what seemed to me the most startling and "convicting" part of what she said.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)