I’m happy to have seen “Gravity” just a few days before the Academy Awards. If I could cast a vote for it, I would. Here, I would like to call attention to one little line in the movie. The one where our main character says, “I would pray…but nobody ever taught me how.”
For a long time it has bothered me that screenwriters, directors, and other powers that lie behind the big screen give us catastrophic situations with no “Help me God” in the midst of them. Anyone who has had a brush with death knows an honest portrayal of such situations would often include a call for help from a higher power.
I have come to understand this missing ingredient in movies in this way: a simple bowing of the head is a powerful thing. If a character prays, even if he is in the background, all eyes would go to him and the trajectory of the movie would be thrown off. But maybe there’s another reason. Possibly nobody ever taught the movie people themselves how to pray and they just don’t know what to do with it.
Which brings me to Gravity. What a precious scene. Sandra Bullock has never played a more beautiful part. I dare say that in her humble admission that she would pray if she knew how, God is rushing in. (I won’t mention the fun, mystical experience that happens next in case you haven’t seen the movie yet.)
Prayer is just a word for communicating with God. It is basically an invitation for God’s presence and direction in your life. Sometimes it involves talking or thinking in sentences. Sometimes it’s turning to Him in silence, then waiting to see if an inspired thought comes to mind. (Contrary to rumors, God is encouraging, not condemning.) If you like writing like I do, you can try writing your prayers. Think of Anne Frank’s honest, vulnerable letters to “Dear Diary” but address them to an attentive God instead.
C.S. Lewis said, “If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end; if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth—only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin with and, in the end, despair.” But even then, in the end, if you are tethering from an air hose in outer space, you can pray. I just taught you how.