A most down-to-earth book

By Klaus Döring

“Down to Earth” (2008) is a Canadian literary collection by high school students in Montreal. The book focuses on environmental issues through creative writing. The collection features introductions by Roberta Bondar and Justin Trudeau as well as endorsements from David Suzuki and Robert Bateman. The book was edited and published by Michael Ernest Sweet.

The book is a student anthology of poetry, fiction, non-fiction and drama. It was written to express concerns about global warming and environmental destruction. The book has two strands: the first warns about environmental destruction, and the second promotes a new awe of nature. It was launched by Justin Trudeau in 2008. Marc Garneau, first Canadian in space, wrote that the writing overwhelmed him, and made him realise that we must act now.[

When tragedy strikes, it’s easy to harden our hearts and cry out, “God, why did you let this happen?” Maybe then, we started praying. Before, when everything went smoothly, we would not even think a minute about praying.

“To be a Christian without prayer, “said Martin Luther, “is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.” Prayer is the only way of becoming what God wants us to be. This is the reason why Jesus spent many hours praying.

Unquestionable, our needs bring us to a place of prayer. Confronted with danger or tragedies, as I mentioned earlier, we look for God’s help. Difficult times always cause the hearts of men to turn to God into prayer.

Let me ask you: How long has it been since you’ve brought your burdens to God? Since you asked His forgiveness for your shortcomings?

In his very interesting book “People in Prayer”, Dr. John White reminds us that prayer is a divine-human interaction and it is always God who takes the initiative. White writes: “God speaks and we respond. God is always speaking. To hear his voice is not usually a mystical experience. It consists merely of a willingness to pay heed to God who lays a claim to our lives.”

Yes, God always speaks. It is up to us whether we will listen and respond to Him. Many think we are the ones who initiate prayer. But prayers begin and end with God.

There was a time, I wasn’t in the mood to pray any more. It seemed that God didn’t listen to my prayer any more. I didn’t get what I prayed for. Of course, not! That’s not the meaning of praying to God. Will all my wishes be granted? Heaven forbid!

Sometimes, after we have prayed, God’s answers may puzzle us. But as time goes by and as events unfold we see God’s purpose in his answers. We might get a larger vision, what HE likes. Not what WE like.

Think about it for a moment” How does the idea that prayer begins and ends with God affect me now? Do I have the habit of listening to god? How do I respond to Him? How do I usually pray?

I confess that a long time ago I have been trying to persuade God to change other people in my surroundings or circumstances. Nothing changed. Of course not, what a fatal attraction? I got confused because God never granted my requests. Meanwhile I got God’s answers to my prayers. Maybe very simple: I was willing to let God change me. This is how each one of us should start. Happy endings. Because I prayed according to His will.

Talking about prayer, we also have to mention the probably most down-earth book in the bible which is Proverbs. Its education prepares you for the street and the marketplace, not the schoolroom. The book offers the warm advice you get by growing up in a good family. It covers small questions as well as large ones: talking too much, visiting neighbors too often, being unbearably cheerful too early in the morning. Proverbs simply tell how life works most of the time.

I always love to quote proverbs, which express the truth about life in an elegant, witty kernel. You should not hunt through it for proverbs you might like. You should study the whole book to get its overall point of view. This takes time, for Proverbs covers dozens of subjects in subtle detail.


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