Edmund’s Mom, Josephine, inquired last night, after talking to Edmund to wish him a happy birthday, where will you go to pray before you begin the journey home? It was a sweet thought and question. It was one that we had already considered and we had decided to return to the Abbey Notre Dame de Bon Secours. This place is close and it was one that I was most taken with. Edmund told someone that I just loved the place. He is right, there is such a serenity there that I am happy to return for the quiet and prayer before we begin our journey home.
The question that Josephine asked is an important one for all of us to consider, where will you go to pray? This from a woman who prays absolutely everywhere felt that it was important that we return to one of the sanctuaries that we had been so fortunate to visit. At the same time it is a deeply personal question that can only be answered by an individual for themselves. There is no one place that speaks exactly the same to all of us. There will be places that we will journey to because it is an important “shrine” or holds historical significance that will move us. Then there are places that we need to see because of the significance to our religion. But the place where we go to pray is significant to an individual, a safe place where the presence of God is felt. Is it your community church? A bench under a tree? A park? A monastery? Each of us will answer in our own unique way recognizing that prayer is time when we build our relationship with God, handing over the concerns of the day, of life.
My book Practical Prayer is certainly a helpful tool in understanding how to make the most of the time that you have, how to set aside a safe space and how our mundane tasks can become deep moments of prayer and connection. It does not undermine the importance of connecting with a worshiping community but certainly helps reduce the guilt factor if we have been away for a while. It helps prevent the need to justify that indeed we are “spiritual but not necessarily religious”. As spiritual people we enter into a relationship with the divine. A relationship built on spending time together in quiet, solitude, community, work. A relationship built not on guilt for what has not been done. So as we go forward, struggling with the phenomena that people tell us in ever increasing numbers that we are “spiritual but not religious” perhaps we need to begin not with guilt but by entering into a relationship meeting the person where they are and understanding where they go to pray and be in their relationship with the divine.
Where will you go today to pray?
As we arrived "home" today these guys were waiting for dinner!