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Faith Comment published in the Petersfield Post

29 May 2019: Jon Piper, Hope Church

Prayer Needn’t Make You Squirm

In 2004, I was scheduled to use a church prayer room. These venues exist so that prayer can constantly take place over a specified period of time, with people praying in different time slots. This prayer room was positioned in one of the rooms near the back of St Peter’s Church.

On one occasion, I was booked to pray in the room from 2am until 6am. I was 24 and the father of a two year old at the time, so sleepless nights were more common and didn’t ruin my week in the way they tend to these days. So, early in the morning, I woke from half a night’s sleep, threw on a hoodie and jogged across town to the church.

Meanwhile, some police in a patrol car (there were a few around back then) spotted a shady figure crossing Station Road with his hands in his pockets and his hood hiding his face. Eager for something to fill their time, the police drew up next to the young ne’er-do-well, asking him what was his business.

The police car made me jump. They asked me where I was going, so I told them: ‘I’m going to church, to pray.’

The police officers’ response betrayed a certain embarrassment. They shifted in their seats, then one cleared his throat, saying: ‘Hum, yes, well… Off you go then.’

Prayer, it turns out, can often feel awkward. Talking about it can make the uninitiated squirm. Even those who have been Christians for years can find any number of reasons why prayer should be relegated to the bottom of their list of priorities.

The Bible draws a simple picture of prayer: ‘Look to the LORD [God] and his strength; seek his face always.’ Simple. No fuss or squirming. No police involvement.

You’ll be welcome to try it in the Pop-Up Prayer Space in Petersfield this week.

Find out more about the PACT Popup Prayer Space starting on 31 May - and sign up to join in

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