She knelt in the ancient stone church,
and offered her daily prayer
as she did each day, and had done so
for many a year gone.
She never missed, though she wondered,
sometimes, why she continued, and if
God heard, or even cared;
and if there was any point
to her faithful vigil and devotion.
He entered quietly through the oak door,
and his eyes slowly adjusted
to the dimness of the small building.
When they did, he saw her kneeling
in front of the altar, and he was suddenly
captured by a waking dream or vision:
When he looked at the old woman praying,
he was convinced he saw the whole world
revolving around her prayer, infused by divine love.
The above poem is based a lovely story I read years ago in the readings from one of the mystics, but I have never been able to find it again since, which is very frustrating! So I don’t know where the story comes from, or if I have remembered it properly, but from my recollection they were describing a vision they had when once entering a church. They saw an old peasant woman kneeling down praying, and in their vision they saw the whole world revolving around this old woman’s prayer. She may have thought that her prayer was insignificant; she may have thought it was distracted and poor; but, in fact, it was having an enormous and powerful effect upon the world, and she did not know it.
I think that is a beautiful story. It sums up all our struggles with prayer and meditation. How often do we feel our prayer to be poor and insignificant? How often do we feel that we are wasting our time, wasting God’s time? When, in fact, God is using it to great effect, and the world is greatly influenced by that prayer. That is how important and vital our prayer is. That is why we should not despair at our attempts to meditate, because no prayer is ever wasted. God takes it, honours it, embraces it, delights in it, and uses it to great effect, though we remain oblivious to any of this.
Don’t despair, don’t give up, don’t be discouraged. God welcomes your prayer, no matter how feeble you may feel it to be; God delights in it, and uses it in ways we could never imagine.