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Mysteries
   
 
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THE MYSTERY OF PRAYER

Prayer has seemed a mystery to men because they have not understood the nature of the relation between God and man. When God was thought of as abiding in heaven and ruling the earth from a throne on high far from the homes of men, there was reason in belief that he did not know the thoughts, needs, and ideals of earth-dwellers. For centuries our thinking has been in terms of space and time; hence, heaven seemed a long distance from us, and the time when God walked with Adam in the garden at the close of the day seemed an eternity. According to this conception, God had visited the world after creating it, but He had withdrawn His mighty presence to become a ruling power; hence, in order to reach this presence, it was necessary that men become subservient as they did in relation to earthly kings, and implore the mercy of this heavenly king. Some among the children of this earth seemed favored by this ruling power; others were less favored, or in fact, were is disfavor--hence, the mystery. Men sought to reach the mighty one [125] by various methods; sacrifice of possessions, expiation or individual repentance, and supplication were the most commonly employed means. It is the relation of supplication to the newer form of prayer that we shall discuss in this chapter.

In the old prayer, men sought to get that which they needed and desired; in the new prayer, men seek to give of themselves, to

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