Parking Lot Prayer

Wednesday, September 17

9-17By Eileen Turner of Portland, Oregon, USA

So he came and proclaimed peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near…So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God…

—Ephesians 2:17, 19 NRSV

We face decisions every day. Some of us are planners, making lists of projects to which we commit. Others of us keep tasks in the back of our mind, and sometimes we do them. I am a planner. Some items I feel are important enough to add to my list, I might not do. And, sometimes I do not forward them to my next list.

One day as I left the grocery store and walked to my car, I noticed a young man. He hesitated but eventually knelt on a small rug. He was between two cars in the next row over. As I sat in my car, I realized this was a young Muslim, devoted to his faith’s daily practice of prayer at specific times. I sat quietly, not wanting to start my engine for fear I would disturb his devotion. I thought, “What courage it takes to kneel publicly like this.”

If my religion asked this of me, would I be able to commit to this? I regarded this young man, dressed as a store employee, as a brave follower. He took his “break time” to commit to his prayer regime. I am sure it was part of his spiritual formation, and he did not need to put it on a list to remind him.

Prayer for Peace God of diverse faiths, help us find common ground with people far and near. May we practice spiritual disciplines that become natural to our daily routine. Help us share peace as part of our daily practice.

Spiritual Practice: The International Community Find (or imagine) a globe or map of the world. Look at all the nations and find a country other than your own. Notice the geographic distance between your homeland and this one. Picture a person living there. Pray for this person. Sense God’s love connecting you just as the oceans connect the continents. Thank God for the spiritual connection you have with all of God’s people around the globe. Ask a blessing on the church as a community sharing Christ’s peace, drawing all into the family of God.

Peace Covenant Today, God, I will add regularity to my spontaneous prayers.

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3 Comments

  1. What a beautiful experience to witness. Thanks Eileen for sharing it with us. I’m sure many who read this story will also wonder about the strength of their commitment/belief.

  2. Diane Akers

     /  17 September 2014

    Thanks for sharing, I enjoyed every word. We truly can learn from all & hopefully remember to be so vigilant in our prayer life!

  3. Vera Entwistle

     /  17 September 2014

    Your contribution today brought a lump to my throat as I considered the faith of this young man and yet how far too often we are critical of different faiths. God bless him…..and you, too, for being sensitive to his needs for quiet while he prayed.

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