Hospitality for prayer
Upon your walls, O Jerusalem, I have posted sentinels; all day and all night they shall never be silent.
Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness.
1 Pet 4:7b-10
Be serious and discipline yourselves for the sake of your prayers.
The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.
The experience of praying together on each of the eight days of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity has helped Christians in the small town of Madona to come together in friendship. A particular fruit of this has been the opening of an ecumenical prayer chapel in the centre of town, complete with elements from Lutheran, Catholic and Orthodox traditions. Here the Christians of Madona join in continuous round the clock prayer. This experience forms the background of the following reflections.
• As long as God’s people are divided, and Christians are estranged from one another, we are like Jesus in Samaria, strangers in a foreign land, without safety, without refreshment and without a place of rest.
• The people of Israel longed for a place of safety where they could worship the Lord. Isaiah tells us of the Lord’s mighty act: he posted sentinels on the walls of Jerusalem so that his people could worship him in safety day and night.
• In the Week of Prayer our churches and chapels become places of safety, rest and refreshment for people to join in prayer. The challenge from this week is to create more places and protected times of prayer, because as we pray together, we become one people.
• How can we promote mutual hospitality among parishes and congregations in our locality?
• Is there a place in our neighbourhood where Christians from different traditions can gather in prayer, and if not can we help to create such a place?
Lord Jesus, you asked your apostles to stay awake with you and to pray with you. May we offer the world protected times and spaces in which to find refreshment and peace, so that praying together with other Christians we may come to know you more deeply. Amen.