A HEARTFELT PRAYER
On a lonely island, away from the busy world, there lived three Christian hermits. They spent most of their time thinking and talking about God and singing His glory. They loved to read from the Bible about the Father in Heaven, the Son of God, and the Holy Ghost. Being simple-hearted, the only prayer they offered to God was, “Oh Lord, we are three. Thou too art three. Have mercy on us.” God would be very much pleased with this prayer. He, therefore, looked after their daily needs and saved them from all harm. They would find fruits and milk on the table whenever they were hungry. There would be a shelter over their heads whenever the sun burnt hot or the rains poured from the sky. Even the wild beasts became their friends because the hermits hated none and loved all as God’s creatures.
One day a bishop who lived in a town on the seashore heard about these hermits and their simple prayer. “They must not have understood the Bible or the Lord’s teaching,” said the bishop to himself. “Let me go and teach them the right prayers one must offer daily to the Lord.”
The bishop came to the island in a boat. He told the hermits that their prayer was too small and simple to win the Lord’s love and grace. So, he taught them a number of prayers and also one long prayer to be offered morning, and evening every day. As it was getting dark, the bishop hurried to his boat and left the island for his town.
When the boat had gone some distance, the bishop saw on the dark waters a ray of light coming from the island towards himself. As he watched the dazzling line of waves, he saw a strange happening. The three hermits, hand-in-hand, were running upon the shining waves and coming towards him. When they reached the boat, they cried out, “Oh Father! We forgot some of the lines from the long prayer you taught us. Please repeat the prayer for us.”
The bishop was struck with wonder by what he saw. He had only heard about Lord Jesus walking on the waves of the sea. Now, he saw the hermits doing the same thing before his very eyes. “Surely, these hermits are pure souls,” said the bishop to himself. “The Lord has blessed them and made them His own. What can I teach them?”
So the bishop shook his head and humbly said, “Dear brothers, continue to live with your own small prayer. The Lord is pleased with you.” He had learnt from the hermits that the true prayer comes, not from the lips, but from the bottom of the heart.
- What was the bishop’s mistake?
- What was the lesson he learnt from the hermits?
- Describe the prayer which you often offer to God. Could you call it a true prayer? Explain.