So my first question around prayer is where do you pray? Since I started my Lenten Prayer Journey I have prayed in some peculiar places. I have prayed the offices in the mall, hospital waiting rooms, parking lots, and my driveway. I have prayed in a Mosque, at a labyrinth in a mental health facility, in my office, in an empty church nave, and at a theological college with theology students. It’s been an interesting journey thus far.
The weather, though, as kept me from praying in perhaps my favourite place to pray. I love to pray outside. Strangely words are seldom a part of these outdoor prayers. Instead my prayers tend to be more visual and aural. I love to watch birds in the sky and in trees, or on the ground foraging for food. They remind me of Jesus’ words not to worry about anything but to rely on God (Matthew 6:25-27). I look at the scenery around me, the ocean, forests, hills, lakes, river, streams, and I am reminded of how small I am. I am reminded of my insignificance, but also of the blessing of being invited to participate in all that God is doing. Sometimes I just stare at the sky and just like when I was a kid I look for shapes in the clouds or get lost in the deep, deep blue. Living by the ocean, too, is a constant reminder of what it means to orient your life to something that is bigger and stronger that you are; something that provides life but can quickly take it away. Sounds also focus my attention: the cr of gulls the rustling wind, the sounds of the city. Yes God is speaking all around us; we just need to stop a listen. Prayer, for me, is listening more than it is speaking.
One of my other favourite places to pray is at St. Mark’s when no one else is there. We have a beautiful sanctuary at St. Mark’s and it is just so peaceful and serene. This is especially true when the sunlight pours through the stained glass windows. It brings a heavenly light and warmth to the whole space. I like to reflect on what will happen in that space once all the people gather. My mind goes to the table we will gather around, the communion we will share. I meditate on the people themselves too. I picture the people who will gather, their situations, and the hopes, dreams, and frustrations they will bring to worship. I pray for them and for myself that I will be able to be with them in their suffering and joys, their tears and laughter.
Well, that’s a little about where I pray. Now, how about you? Are you like Jesus who needed to get away to a quiet place to pray? Maybe you pray while driving, or at your desk using your computer (I do that too). So, come on, heave it out; where do you pray?