A Lenten Prayer Journey: I Prayed in the Mall Today

Source: flick.comWell I’m into day 4 of my Lenten commitment to pray the seven daily offices each day of Lent. If I were to use a image for my experience of the last few days it would be a toddler being strapped into a booster seat at the beginning of a long road trip. The kid knows she needs to be safe and that its best if she is secured but she wants her freedom to do what she wants. I know I need this time of Lenten discipline but everything in my life and being fights against it. Truly my desire to pray has collided with the routines of my life, not to mention my weak will. I’ve missed some offices and had to go back and make it up. Sometimes my efforts are a little rushed with not a whole lot of feeling. But slowly I do find a rhythm developing

On the bright side there have been some positives. Wherever possible I am trying to pray with others. I have prayed with colleague and rector of St. Mark’s Rev Dr. Wayne Short. I also did compline the other night with our study group and that was lovely. I’m still trying to convince my kids to pray with me, but they’re a little weirded out by that. I will keep working on them though, I have 40 days to wear them down.

Another blessing is the places I have found myself praying. I have prayed in the bathroom, a meeting room at the church, a doctors waiting room, and perhaps most interestingly at the mall. My wife and I were there with our youngest daughter and some of her friends. As 9 pm approached I found a solitary place in the food court and did an abreviated version of compline. It was surreal and profoundly moving to pray there in the heart of capitalism and consumerism. I was made aware anew that God is all around everywhere waiting for us to pay attention.

Here is a portion of the prayer from the little Lenten devotional I was using, Mark Neilsen’s “Keeping Watch with Jesus” from Creative Communications: “Like Peter, I, too, have fallen asleep. By your example, Lord, you remind me how to live and how to pray. Thank you for waking me up this Lent.” Amen.


Reprinted with permission from Neo(un)Orthodoxy.

Rev. Robert Cooke is the priest-in-charge of St. Mark's Anglican Church in St. John's, Newfoundland.

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