There’s an old black-and-white sitcom on television called Make Room for Daddy, sometimes entitled The Danny Thomas Show. It’s one program I actually encouraged my children to watch. No violence. No sexual situations. Definitely family fare.
[SIDENOTE: If you’re unfamiliar with Danny Thomas, he’s the guy who founded St. Jude’s Hospital for Children. He wasn’t making it as an entertainer and one day upon entering a Catholic church saw a statue of St. Jude, the patron of lost causes. He prayed to St. Jude and promised that if he ever made it as a performer, he’d build a shrine to the saint. The hospital is the promised shrine.]
On the show, Mr. Thomas portrays a nightclub singer. In his living room at home, he’s got a baby grand he often uses for rehearsal.
I call it a Magic Piano. That’s because when Mr. Thomas plays it, all of a sudden we hear an invisible violin. Then some woodwinds and percussions join in. Next thing you know, you’re hearing an entire orchestra.
Boy, he sure gets a lot of music out of that piano!
I need something kind of like a magic piano when I’m praying. Now, I don’t mean there’s any magic involved in praying. No, no. Praying is supernatural, not magical.
What I mean is that my praying is so poor that in order for it to be worth something, it needs some accompaniment. A lot of accompaniment, in fact.
Fortunately, such help does exist. It’s called the Holy Spirit.
As St. Paul tells us, “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words. And he who searches the hearts of men knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” (Romans 8:26-27)
So, to use an analogy, when my praying is as bad as “Chopsticks” on a piano that’s horribly out of tune, the Holy Spirit intercedes and turns my pathetic music into a beautiful concerto.
Now, I’m sure this doesn’t mean I’m supposed to slack off and not put any effort into praying. I’m sure it doesn’t mean I’m supposed to just kick back and let the Holy Spirit do it all.
But it’s gratifying to know that no matter how poor my praying is, if I’m making the effort to do as well as I can, what starts out as a tinny, tuneless prayer becomes majestic when it reaches the throne of God.