My parents were always hosting missionaries in our home, and one very prominent missionary was staying with us when I was a boy. I was struggling with the idea of “praying right,” and I thought, if anyone would know how to pray, it would be this famous man. He was dozing in the hammock in [the] back of our house, and I simply asked him, “How do you pray?” Without even opening his eyes, he said, “Son, I haven’t prayed in 40 years.” This was very disconcerting! I was shocked! Here is this famous man of God, and he hasn’t prayed for 40 years? I was afraid to tell my mother. I didn’t want him lowered in her estimation.
Years later, when I was a pastor, I saw the wisdom in what he told me. I was looking for a “How do you do it?” I was thinking that prayer was something you do in order to create a relationship with God. It’s not.
Eugene Peterson, RELEVANT, May/June 2007