confirmation

I had a work meeting in County Town and I decided that while I was in town I would find time to go and pray in a church. This would be a first for me.

Aside:

I have been trying to establish a habit of daily prayer, with intermittent success. However, on 8th March I decided that I would say a special prayer daily for a friend. Among other things, this desire to pray specifically has reminded me to pray at all, and after saying my special prayer for the friend, I go on to say my “normal” prayer. So now I am safely praying every day (at bedtime, or at my morning quiet time when I arrive at work, or both).

The cathedral where I was planning to pray is a bit of a tourist trap and they have a greeter on the door doing triage. When I arrive the greeter asked brightly “Are you visiting?” and I said sheepishly that I was coming in to pray. Because the cathedral is such a tourist trap they have special areas set aside for private prayer (they do do normal services there too, it is a functioning church), and the greeter described the way to get to the chapel: in a corner, up a stone spiral staircase, …

(click for bigger pics!)

I realised I had no idea what to do. I lit a candle as a way of starting. I knelt on that little red cushion. I said my prayer out loud.

Praying like this — aloud, so I could hear my own voice; in public; in such a place; and of course for the first time in my life — was a powerful experience. I asked myself later why I didn’t pray my “normal” daily prayer or even a special prayer for myself. Perhaps I didn’t want to unleash too much emotion.

There was nobody else in the chapel while I was there. Mid-prayer I did hear footsteps come up the stair and into the room, shift about and then leave. Perhaps security or a stray tourist. I didn’t turn round to see and I kept praying. So — a complete unknown stranger saw and heard me praying!

A couple more pics of around the cathedral:

On the way out I thanked the greeter and we talked about what went on at the church. It became clear that I knew little about services, whether Easter Saturday was a special day, etc., and I found myself saying, “I’ve only recently got into all this”. I don’t know why I didn’t say something like, “I’ve only recently become a Christian”.

Samuel

Walking around the cathedral afterwards, I came across two pleasant surprises from Samuel. Firstly this mural of 2 Samuel 18:33

Then the gift shop had a copy of Straight to the Heart of 1&2 Samuel by Phil Moore (I’ve linked the Amazon page as it has a “look inside”; there’s also the author’s home page).

I bought the book obvs, and I am enjoying reading it.

Confirmation

Also in the gift shop I bought this Confirmation card:

I don’t know what “Confirmation” is in the Church of England, but coming here and praying felt like a confirmation (with a small ‘c’) and another step towards a real confirmation.

I know that real confirmation will involve “coming out of the closet” to my wife about being a Christian, and finding a local group to join.

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5 Comments

  1. I just imagined being a fly on the wall of that beautiful cathedral as you prayed for me, David! I really needed to hear about your efforts on my behalf today. I’ve struggled yesterday and today to feel as if I make a difference for Christ. But this one act is such an honor and blessing, knowing a prayer was lifted up for me from so very far away. That’s God at work–to bring encouragement across tens of thousands of miles!

    I also love that you’re pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. I know that this will help you in your quest to “come out of the closet,” as you say, with your wife.

    And what a great confirmation the Lord gave you in bringing your attention to that tapestry, as we’ve considered David’s story from every angle together. That’s what a good church will do for you, my friend. Give you partners to view God’s word from every angle together. My prayers are with you as you search for that right place to call your church home.

    Reply
    • Dear Beth, thank you for your comment. You have certainly made a difference here! Your guidance and your example and your encouragement. Not just in how I think of myself, but how I live, and how well I support my wife and our son.

      On coming out, and on finding a local group — more soon.

      Seeing those things from Samuel as the icing on the cake :) I could hardly believe my eyes when I saw the mural :) Silly, but it felt like an acknowledgement.

      Reply
  2. This post gives me chills, David. The pictures, your words, the contagion of wanting to pray aloud myself this morning as a result. Thanks for sharing with us your authenticity of stepping into faith; may it continue to spread to your wife and others when you feel ready.

    Reply
    • Dear Lisa, thank you very much for your comment. I feel like I am in an exciting new world. I am starting to make plans for next steps. Will sketch some out here soon.

      Reply
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