Does your space influence your praying?

I’ve been waking up around 3.00 am these days, as my body adjusts to effects of a trans-Atlantic trip.  I have been going to bed late hoping  I would sleep right through.  However I find myself awake in a couple of hours, trying to figure out how to while away the time till the dawn.

So I wander around a bit, pet the dog, pick up a book and put it down again for my eyes are too tired to concentrate.  I switch on the TV.   More of the same stuff – Trump and his trip, Trump and his tweets,  Trump and his tactless talk, interspersed with bits of world news. CNN is really obsessed with Trump and trite news. Imagine – they were actually showing the police recording of Tiger Woods being tested for driving under influence. Gross invasion of his privacy.  I switch to BBC.  More Trump tales but also news of Manchester, Brexit, Elections and EU.  I click to Al Jazeera – less obsession with one topic and a more global view: labour reform in Brazil,  environment research in Senegal, lynching in Pakistan,  a protester used as a human shield in India,  and  in-depth reporting on the floods in Sri Lanka.  I watch a bit and switch off.   3.30 am.  Its going to be a  l – o – n – g night. I make some coffee, grab a bite and decide its a great opportunity for some quiet time with the Lord.

But that does not work !  Try as I might I could not quiet myself.  One whole week of getting up at 3.00 am and I did not get any quality prayer time. (??)

And then today this article on Ignationspirituality.com titled Take Inventory of Your Spaces by Vinita Hampton Wright made me realise the root of the problem.  To say my space was the major distraction to my prayers would be an understatement.

It has been raining heavily the past week, pre-empting me from going onto the balcony which is generally conducive to reflection and quiet time.  The rain has impacted the indoors too.  There are racks of clothes drying out in the upstairs lobby/study.  And lots more clothes lying around – unfinished packing – waiting their turn for the machine and the racks. Maybe it is time to invest in a Drier even in sunny Sri Lanka?

I muse that the rain has only minutely disrupted my space.  It has played havoc in the country, creating a national disaster and taking away ‘all the space’  of hundreds of thousands of families.  In the face of that, my distraction from prayer because of dis-organised surroundings seems very trite indeed.  But it is a reality.

The article brought home to me the importance of consciously creating that place and space that I need to go into by myself to meet my Lord.  As Ms Hampton Wright says  … it matters where we dwell for a time of communion with God.  

She urges that we take an inventory of our spaces and gives some guidlines on how to achieve this.  You can read the full article Take Inventory of Your Spaces on the Ignatianspirituality.com website.

I hope it helps you as much as it has  helped me.

 

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11 thoughts on “Does your space influence your praying?

  1. The news can be so tiresome that most times I simply switch it off to let my brain breath. There’s nothing like that private space where you can have communion without interruption. I need to create such space.

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  2. So true. Need to work on this like yesterday. Thanks for the reminder……. Now where in this crazy noisy country can I find a place with some quiet. Oh how i love the quiet drives in the USA no blaring horns. We do not realise how much our space is invaded by these noisy elements. Will find the place and add the ear plugs too.

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    • Yup … for the first time I wish I was in Dixie … not really Dixie, – the tune just came to me ….. but any place with wide open spaces and no traffic for miles around !!!! Oh to be back in the mountain cabin of Shenandoah or Pigeon Forge …

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  3. You are right. The news reports are mostly disturbing. Rarely do you find something uplifting. But I recently started watching news to get a feel for what is going on in the world. eg London attack. And just today I heard that 6 nations are boycotting Qatar for sponsoring ISIS. Qatar based Al Jazeera too is affected. There goes my news feed.
    Thanks for the advice on prayer space. I really have to work on reviving a ‘conducive specialised space.’.
    Best.

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  4. personally I would find watching such news broadcasts most disturbing to my calm 😦 I read headlines on the net to know what’s happening but prefer to read only a few articles as it’s ALL bad news 🙂

    prayer space helps heaps, find your space at home, put a comfortable chair there then decorate it with a picture that has deep meaning for you. Add subtle lighting and maybe have music that relaxes to start your session. A conducive specialised space helps heaps if rain keeps you indoors 🙂

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    • Hi .. guess what I read soon after reading your comment!! A para in Philip Yancey’s book “Reaching for the Invisible God” ..that mentions how a Greek Orthodox priest who was requested to say an impromptu prayer for prisoners went through the whole process of candles, incense, putting on vestments etc before he was ready to pray. Reminded me of your comment.
      Yancey says the Greek tradition had taught this priest that you do not approach the Other as you would approach your own kind. The rituals helped him to move from a spirit of urgency and immediacy to a place of calm whose rhythms were the rhythms of eternity.
      Something to think about in creating our space for prayer…

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