In Place

underleavesMy daily routine happens in particular locations and times of day/week/month/year (Everyone’s does; is there anyone whose routine just happens in random places and times? It wouldn’t be a routine without placement, just a collection of happenings strung together through time and space.), interwoven in the fabric of my life. They are the warp and woof that create the mutable and unfinished tapestry that is my very existence. They matter to me, these times and locations – these places I live in.

Today, my prayers were offered from my old blue sofa, looking out on the birds, plants, and chairs in my back yard. Brick steps heard my Jesus prayer, the Weber grill witnessed the prayer list. A couple days ago, it was the flip-out sofa just inches and a screen away from the lavender-bloomed butterfly bush. End of August, these same prayers visited my in-laws’ patio, with its bird bath and rose-chomping mule deer. The time of day stayed the same, the locations didn’t – maybe not a huge difference, but it changed the flavor of the words in my mouth and on my heart. How could it not when I could see, feel, hear, and smell a different part of God’s great world? Even a change of room and window makes a difference in who I am as I pray.

Prayer is a living dialogue as much as an ongoing soliloquy. Alone or in the company of others, prayer is never done in isolation. We are surrounded by all those who ever prayed the words we pray, who ever prayed where we pray; we stand and kneel with pray-ers through all time and in all places. All the spontaneous words ever said, felt, and thought; all the indescribable moments when the words couldn’t be found. It is in this place that I pray and you pray. It is in this place that God embraces us, sometimes seen and felt, sometimes unseen and elusive. If I really embraced the holiness of my places of prayer, I doubt would ever get off my knees. If you did the same, I doubt you would, either.

(For more on place, clickPlace above…)

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I am a Christian educator and writer.I have worked in churches, denominational offices, and seminaries. I have a PhD in Theology from Princeton Theological Seminary, with a focus on Practical Theology and educating in faith. In 2010, my book, "How the Other Half Lives: the challenges facing clergy spouses and partners," was published by Pilgrim Press. I believe that words can build doorways that lead to encounters with God through the Spirit.

2 thoughts on “In Place”

  1. “In Place”–Yes! We can pray anywhere but the flavor of the words in my mouth (love that!) do I change. I have a special place as do many, I assume–my own “thin place”–where the flavor seems particularly lovely.
    Thank you for bringing this alive for me.

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