“What is Prayer?”

Soon, I hope, I will be introducing my new book about the Serenity Prayer to the congregation. In the meantime, I wish to talk this Sunday about the basic idea of prayer.  

Prayer is a verbal ritual, comparable to other types of rituals, rooted in history and tradition. Prayer has been honored by millions of people through a long line of people through history who found prayer meaningful and valuable.  

Is prayer just a verbal gesture toward an imaginary force?  Is prayer the evocation of an imaginary helper, a trick, a wily subterfuge, useful solely for its capacity to assuage anxiety? Is prayer an anxiety reducer with no real underlying meaning or purpose? If not, what is it?    

This Sunday I will explore some various meanings of prayer and attempt to lay the groundwork for a deeper appreciation of prayer.