Prayer Blog 6th – 13th June 2015

sacred_space2

Prayer Space

Some months ago now, we set aside a room in our church as prayer space. The idea being that we have somewhere to retreat to, from the busyness of life, in order that we may find a quiet space to pray and to reflect. I like that idea. I also like the way that it has developed into a place where we can post prayer requests. The ambience can be helped through the lighting of a candle. You can be alone with God or in the company of others but in that space you have made time to be with God in prayer. For it is prayer space.

Having said all that, from time to time I come across things that make me realise that all space is available to us for prayer and reflection. For God is everywhere and questions over where and when to, or how to pray, have been around for some time, e.g. David Cornick says:-

The breaking down of the barrier between the sacred and the secular was one of the profoundest results of the Reformation. The world is God’s, and it is therefore all sacred space. It was Calvin’s initial instinct to lock the doors of St Peter’s Geneva outside service hours, lest people should be tempted to go into church and pray, for they could and should pray everywhere.

Cornick goes on to say, ‘That was a powerful symbolic gesture, all be it one that lacked pastoral tact.’[1] Setting the lack of tact aside, I guess you can understand where Calvin was coming from. He would not have wanted to let the spiritual life and disciplines, which are for all people, slip back into the hands of institute and clergy.

N.T. Wright says that, ‘The mystery of space and place in the Psalms hits us in the face when we stop and remind ourselves what they are saying.’ He said that on a visit to Jerusalem, looking up at the mountain where the Psalmist spoke of God’s dwelling place, it hits one in the face that, the Israelites knew that God dwelt here. Therefore he would rule the nations from here. The temple was the intersection between time and space, which we now have in Jesus.[2]

Let that hit us in the face then! Jesus is the intersection between time and space. Where is Jesus? He dwells within us and he rules from Heaven over all Heaven and Earth. Therefore, all space is sacred space. We can pray anywhere and everywhere. And yet, as Jesus did, how privileged we are to be able to retreat to a quiet space and spend time with the Father. It’s not so much one or the other. It’s both. So wherever you are, let us pray:

Psalm 84:1-4

 How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD Almighty!  My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.

Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young—a place near your altar, O LORD Almighty, my King and my God.

Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you.

 Psalm 19:1-4

 The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.


[1] David Cornick, Letting God Be God: The Reformed Tradition, Traditions of Christian Spirituality Series, series editor, Philip Sheldrake (London: Darton, Longman & Todd Ltd., 2008), 106-107

[2] N.T. Wright, The Case For the Psalms: Why They Are Essential, (New York: Harper One, 2013), 78-79

One thought on “Prayer Blog 6th – 13th June 2015

  1. Anne McD

    I agree that all space is available for prayer and reflection. At this time of year I can suddenly become acutely aware of the beauty and wonder of the natural world inspiring prayers of awe and thanksgiving whether I am out walking or simply looking out of the window. I can pray in the middle of a busy city street but also think there is something special about withdrawing into a quiet place to pray. Two memories of the extremes of prayer situations come to mind. Our minister during most of our time at St George’s Tron in Glasgow was the Rev George Duncan, a most Godly man.. He told us that he did a lot of his praying whilst driving. I have to say a few of us smiled to ourselves and wondered if that was why he ‘pranged’ the car every now and again! At the other end of the spectrum was visiting the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow. This restored neoclassical building was testament to the renaissance of the Orthodox Church after the fall of the Soviet Union. It is a truly magnificant building but for me the most moving and beautiful part of my visit was the number of people who had come into the building to pray. These people, who had had this privilege denied them during the Soviet era, knelt in prayer, some completely still, some with their lips moving in silent prayer and all of them apparently oblivious to the tourists. We can and should try praying – anywhere.

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