Monday, March 12, 2007

Prayer Time


Prayers of dedication concluded the festivities for The Rock Church yesterday as the congregation, community leaders, and many out-of-town guests celebrated the completion of their new sanctuary. Following the dedication, we joined many friends at the reception at the Wilson Estate. Someone suggested the ladies leave their handbags in the prayer room. Soft, worshipful music was playing when I walked into this room and I was immediately awestruck, for in this prayer room is a miniature replica of the Western Wall or, as it is better known, The Wailing Wall. Instantly, I remembered the first time I saw The Wailing Wall in 1980 and how much emotion I felt at the sound of people "wailing" as they made their petitions to God. There are literally millions of small papers with written prayer requests tightly pushed between the cracks of the massive stones. As I stood before this replica in my friends home, I was overcome with a desire to build my own wall of prayer in my house. On the ride home, my husband and I talked about what room we would use in our home to construct this wall. References have been made to "prayer closets," but I want prayer to "come out of the closet." Before you misunderstand me, let me clarify myself. I know people who refer to their prayer closets are not trying to hide their prayers, but are rather referring to a more intimate time with God and I am not being critical of them. However, in today's society where prayer is being removed from schools and public functions, I would like to make an even greater stand for prayer. No, I don't need to have a specific room for prayer because we can pray "always." I just want to give prayer a place of honor and reverence in my home. A place where my children can find refuge and solitude. Where they can write their secret prayers, press them between the stones, and know that their prayer is received by God. I'm not sure how soon we will be able to construct our prayer room, but in the meantime we won't forget prayer time.

7 comments:

  1. Jana, I think you have hit on something. As Protestants, we often neglect the physical make-up of a place of devotion. Catholic and Orthodox Christians build altars with candles and statues to give themselves a place for prayer. Even rosary beads have their function. I think a prayer wall where prayers can be written and left are a physical reminder that God is Spirit but He understands the physical. After all, Jesus came to earth in the flesh.

    Christians who want to do away with Christmas trees and other concrete representaions of our faith confuse me. I'm not about to pray the rosary, but I think candles set a calm scene that is receptive to prayer.

    On the other hand, I like the idea of a prayer closet, because I think we love people to Jesus rather than making them pretend they pray when they don't. Actions speak louder than words, even public prayers.

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  2. What a beautiful post concerning prayer. I love the idea! Such a wall would be a reminder to you and your children that all of your prayers are important! What greater joy to know that you inserted a tangible prayer request and then in time it was answered!

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  3. Hi, Helen. I love the idea of the prayer wall and writing petitions. Especially for my young children. Writing reinforces the thoughts in their head, and puts action into their prayer. I do love the thought of a prayer closet because that seems to be very intimate, but I felt such a strong pull to the idea of the prayer wall in a small room that gives a "physical" place in our home where we can seek God. In a strange way (probably because my husband is a pastor and we visit hospitals so much), it gives me a similar feeling of a hospital chapel. In the midst of a hectic environment, I feel a certain peace and calm as soon as I enter a small hospital chapel. Having such a place in the home, would avail any family member that same peace and calm. It would serve as a revered place where one can enter and know they will have the respect of a place without toys and noise. Of course, the prayer room and wall would serve no purpose without someone entering for the purpose of connecting with God. You are so right. Actions speak louder than words - even public prayers. I really want my children to know they will always have a "safe haven" when they enter into the presence of God through their prayers. He is peace.

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  4. Hey, Debbie! You must have dropped by while I was responding to Helen. I wish you could have been with us to see the Wilson's prayer room. It was just fabulous! Even if you weren't ready to pray, it just drew you in to the feeling of needing to pray. You are right about the tangible. Children relate so much better to the tangible.

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  5. Hi Jana:

    Good post and great idea. It's almost like a gigantic prayer journal, except it's on a wall. We recently saw a DVD about Jerusalem. It was very interesting and talked about each of the gates and their history. It also showed the wailing wall and commented that people could now FAX their prayers to the wall from anywhere in the world!! Imagine that! Next thing you know, we'll be able to fax them straight to Heaven!!! Lol

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  6. Hi, Karen! You know, there is also a live video feed on the internet that comes from a camera aimed at the Wailing Wall. It is kept up 24/7. I hadn't heard about the faxes. That's funny!

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  7. Wow, I didn't know the Wailing Wall had a live web cam. My husband and son are always checking out web cams at some of our favorite spots, like Yosemite, Lake Tahoe, etc. I'll have to check it out. Thanks!

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