I’m forever prefacing statements.
I’m going to preface this post by pointing out that it is a beautiful thing that we can pray to God at any time and in all kinds of fashions. I enjoy the fact that I lead “Morning Prayer” 4 days a week, which follows a form laid out by the Anglican Prayerbook. I also do prepared prayers that I might say at a function of some kind. At the same time extemporaneous prayer is part of my everyday life, as is grace, and prayer before bed with my family. There’s also thousands of little opportunities to pray in life. I remember hearing about a guy at an MTS training day who made it a habit to pray for family friends whenever he was at a red light….
Prayer it lots of things & done in lots of ways….. preface over….
I remember when we were preparing to move out of the house I grew up in. The developers wanted the land, but decided to make some extra $ by chopping the house in half & shipping it to Cessnock. The place was 100 years old. Nothing compared to places like Scotland, where I’ve enjoyed a beer in a pub that’s been open for 400 years, but pretty old by Australian standards.
That means 100 years worth of bits & pieces that end up dumped in the crawl space under the house.
As my parents cleaned up & prepared for the move they found a prayer desk. I have no idea if someone way back in the family owned it, or if someone in the “olden days” stole it for a lark, but it was there & it was in disrepair.
As a gift to my sister, my parents got it repaired, reupholstered and returned to usefulness.
I was just a little jealous…. yeah, I know, that seems silly: a) because it’s a bit oldy-worldy for a 20 year old guy to want, and b) it’s a prayer desk! The purpose for which is to provide a place where people can be still, speak & listen to God. Jealousy has no place here….
But I was anyway.
Of course, the prayer desk was soon forgotten & life went on
Cut to late 2010
I’m on a silent retreat, a yearly expectation for Anglican ministers in my diocese. I spent a fair bit of time reading a great book, “A call to spiritual reformation” by Don Carson. It energises me & I decide that I am going to be a lot more deliberate & methodical with my prayers ( AGAIN, please read the preface…), my great hope being that when I say to someone “I’ll pray for you,” that I actually pray for them, that I do it regularly & that maybe this helps me follow them up & care for them properly…
The new plan is very helpful, but still I feel, sometimes, like a need a place where I can set myself aside. When I’m sitting at a desk or on a seat somewhere, I just don’t feel as connected, and lying in bed never works well for me & prayers…
Cut to last week.
I’m in the Parish of Islington in Newcastle. They’ve cleared out the church space & are looking to engage with alternate worship there. After Andrew (the rector) had spoken about what they were doing, I asked, offhand, “you don’t have any old prayer desks you’re looking to get rid of do you?”
Andrew said “are you serious, we’ve got FOUR we’re trying to get rid of”
half an hour later, I have a prayer desk (and a delivery driver thanks to Dan’s Landy… it wasn’t fitting in the Corolla), and the Parish will get a donation & a letter about how they are helping a young minister as he starts out in the diocese.
Sometimes God answers prayers you haven’t even formalised…