I was glad when they said to me,
“Let us go to the house of the Lord.”
Now our feet are standing
within your gates, O Jerusalem. (Psalm 122:1-2)
Last night at dinner, I had a pleasant conversation with a colleague about prayer, Bible reading, churches that have impressed us, and finding a place at home to pray and read.
Back at the hotel, I am thinking this morning about the places where we pray.
The photo above is my most regular place of prayer: the desk in whatever hotel room I happen to find myself. It has the great benefit of being completely quiet, and I can arrange the space any way I want. It’s pretty easy to shut out distractions for a short while each morning as I pray and write.
My colleague joked that when he told his wife he wanted a place of his own at home to read, she just laughed. With her and five girls (and a dog) in the house, he’d be lucky for a few minutes of peace and quiet, and no chair is truly his own for long.
Several parishioners from my church recently traveled to Israel, and their feet actually stood within the gates of Jerusalem. They all reported how seeing and standing in the physical places of the Bible affected them.
Most of us, however, have to build “the house of the Lord” a little closer to home.
How have you created space for prayer in your own home? What still needs to be attended to so that you will find “peace within your walls” and “quietness within your towers”?
Very shortly after ordination about fifteen years ago, I had opportunity to go to Israel. I watched the sun come up over the Sea of Galilee – twice! – and stood in a little open area near St Stephen’s gate (and took home a piece of Jerusalem stone from there). And so on.
I found I could not pray there, in those places. It was too much: the unfamiliarity, the strangeness, and of course, the emotional overwhelm. But I have vivid mental pictures I can conjure up, and they help me now.
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