Hart was a fairly successful actress when she decided to become a nun. She had starred in ten films, two of them opposite Elvis Presley. (She is continually asked about having kissed Elvis. She once remarked, “Screen kisses were limited to 15 seconds in those days. That one has lasted 40 years.”) She also performed on Broadway, winning a Tony nomination for one of her roles.
I like one story that is told about Hart. One reporter was being particularly aggressive in questioning Hart’s decision to leave Hollywood. Didn’t it seem a bit of a cop out, he asked, to leave a position from which she could influence the world and take up a life devoted to prayer? Hart replied, “It depends what you believe about prayer.”
Boom! There’s a phrase that Christians need to mull over a bit. It depends what you believe about prayer.
Non-Christians see prayer as something akin to meditation, beneficial for the one doing it, but of little use to others. Supposedly, Christians believe that the time they spend in prayer benefits not only them but the entire world.
I say supposedly because I hear more Christians than non-Christians scoff at prayer. Granted, I interact more with Christians; I recognize that. But when discussing topics like politics or pacifism, Christians seem quick to say, “All you want to do is pray? We need to do something.” [Actually, the common insult is, "So you just want to sit around singing Kum Ba Ya?"]
I believe in action. I don’t think saying “Be warmed and filled” is sufficient for the hungry. But I rankle at the suggestion that praying is “doing nothing.”
As Dolores Hart said, it all depends what you believe about prayer.