So, they have to keep the volume of life turned up to ear-bleeding levels and they keep the pace of life at breakneck speed. These people aren’t busy, they are suffering, and I can’t blame them for wanting to smother the voices in their heads, because a majority of the time that self-guided narrative they are feeding themselves is erroneous, untrue, and downright destructive.
Obviously there are those who do not have the voices of shame and inadequacy screaming in their brains. There are those who have, shall we say, more narcissistic tendencies. Their thinking is about how great they are; how overlooked and persecuted they have been; how they are so much better than that other guy and why can’t everybody see that. It’s a line of thought on the other end of the emotional spectrum, but it is “Stinking Thinking” all the same.
This, then, is one of the great benefits of prayer – and I don’t think it matters if that prayer is guided by means of a rosary, prayer beads, meditation, a daily repetition of a favorite Scripture, or some other spiritual practice. People who pray aren’t simply memorizing a repeated litany of words or practicing religious rituals. They are, in a real sense, reprogramming their software. They are overwriting the faulty components of their thinking.
They are experiencing the transformation of their hearts and minds, for in learning to listen to God’s voice in prayer (and listening is a learned art form) they can turn down the cacophony of voices around them. And yes, these other voices include the “Stinking Thinking” inside their own heads.
Those who learn to truly pray are empowered to say, “Amen, let it be!” to God’s voice, and to shout in protest, “No, absolutely not!” to all other pretensions – especially those pretensions that are manufactured from within. Such praying may not get one everything he or she asks for, but such praying may lead one to getting what he or she needs; and to that, I must say, “Amen.”
Ronnie McBrayer is a syndicated columnist, pastor, and author. His newest book is “The Gospel According to Waffle House.” You can read more at www.ronniemcbrayer.me.