Any Time, Any Place, Always.

That’s prayer.

It reminds me of the old Martini advert ‘Any time, any place, anywhere.’ It was a particularly annoying ad because what’s the difference between any place and anywhere?

Anyway, prayer: A friend has sent me a book her Catholic partner wrote about prayer. It’s a little gem, one of those rare books that speak to you as if they’re actually speaking to you, conversational, relaxed, enquiring, involving. Non-pompous and unlecturey. I started it yesterday evening and finished it this morning. Easily digestible but compulsive.

Now, listen, I recommend it to you with a gentle warning…. aware that the writer and me share an inheritance and culture that you may not. If I had to choose a denomination I would definitely say ‘Baptist’ but – like the writer of this book – I was brought up as a Catholic. I turned away from Catholicism but I can’t help thinking of Catholics and their traditions with affection. Maybe that’s why it spoke to me so clearly and had me chuckling and praying at the same time. Or, at least, chuckling and aware of God at the same time. If you are a dyed-in-the-wool protest-ant, a tad austere maybe, possibly someone who thinks that men in church should be suited and booted and women should make cakes… and if you prefer the King James Bible to the NIV, this is probably going to wobble your jowls. You may find yourself breathing a little heavily at points and wondering just how familiar we should be with the God of all creation. But bear with it. Take a breath and read on, in love. Relax. This guy is lost in wonder, love and praise, he just doesn’t hide his humanity. And God isn’t defeated by our familiarity with him. He can cope.

This is a bloke who prays. And he prays to my God. So we are in the same conversation, finding our way together, however far apart we might be at times.

There’s a Bible proverb I sometimes think of when I’m writing a blog: ‘A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.‘ I don’t want these blogs to be full of my opinion because we all know that I am wrong far far more often than I’m right. I really want these blogs to be another step towards some grasp at understanding the mystery of God, for me as much as for anyone else, and if my nonsense prompts a few questions and a bit of meditation for the reader, then that’s great. That’s what this little book about prayer has done for me. It’s not pious and doctrinally prim, it’s not even particularly scholarly, it’s a mate sitting chatting over a cup of coffee. It’s warm and amusing and insightful and it dares, at times, to be just a tad irreverent, knowing that God can take it. His love reaches all our parts, even our funny bones, even our flat-footed attempts to be gooder than good. It’s honest. Refreshing.

And I’m so chuffed to have read it. To be reminded that there’s a whole army of prayers out there. Here’s where I was praying this morning, a little corner that looks like something out of Narnia;

Narnia prayers

One thought on “Any Time, Any Place, Always.

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