The Editor, Sir:
Allow me to attempt an answer to R. Oscar Lofter's question in his letter published on Monday: "Of what use are prayers?"
The essence of Oscar's question is: How much prayers (taking into consideration the length and fervency of those prayers) and tears must we offer up to God before He hears us and shows us mercy?
While I do not take for granted that it is not only Christians who observe prayer as a ritual directed to a God, the context of Lofter's article points categorically to Christians praying to their God. As such, my answer to his question is that God does not need any prayers and any tears for Him to hear us and to show us mercy. As a matter of fact, it is because of his mercies toward us every moment of our lives why we are not consumed (whether we be Christians or not).
Of what use or purpose are our prayers then? Prayer is a line of communication with God. It is opening up to God as to a friend. Isaiah 1:18 echoes God's invitation to us to "come and reason" with Him. In addition, prayer affords the believer an opportunity to talk to God and then to listen to Him talk back. I tell God how I feel, what I need, etc. then He talks back to me. He may do so through the reading of the Bible, through the impressions of the Holy Spirit or even through a preached sermon.
What Jamaica needs is not so much longer prayers, more prayer breakfasts or even more eloquent prayers; but persons who know and communicate with God and do His biddings.
I am, etc.,
Dave A. McFarlane