Conduct and Prayer

John ArmstrongSpirituality

The relationship between right conduct and prayer is extremely important. I find a lot of people treat prayer as a kind of talisman that helps them when they need it. Their conduct is virtually irrelevant to their prayer(s). The famous English archbishop of Canterbury, William Temple (1881-1944), wrote: "Right relation between conduct and prayer is not that prayer is supremely important and conduct tests it."

Every moment of our life is a moment of crisis, at least in one simple but profound sense. Every decision that we make has an impact upon every other decision and every other action we will take. We must choose constantly between life and death, at least spiritually. We must choose between our purely temporal interests or the eternal order of things in our life. The enemy wants to put God-eclipsing objects between us and the Father. He wants us to understand reality in purely temporal and momentary terms. Live for now! Deal with later only when it comes. Christian conduct and prayer removes the barriers and lives for both now and the future. The now is best lived when the focus is kept on what is to come. This is how prayer truly relates to conduct.