Place of Prayer – A new place to pray
In the past church buildings were never locked, always open, and available for anyone to enter and pray at any time of day and night. Now, with so much church violence, church buildings are locked at all times except, and sometimes even during, Sunday morning worship services. So where can we pray? Anywhere, but the rest of our lives and our world get in the way.
Every human being feels the need to pray at some time in life. Spiritual people of all religions and no-religion practice prayer. People of all faiths are familiar with the concept of prayer. Churches incorporate prayer into their services, and some churches have prayer meetings. However, fewer and fewer people are attending church and prayer meetings. Worship services seem to make a passing nod at prayer, sometimes recited by those leading the service, or by the congregation in unison, but often they are mumbled out of long habit, and are simply rote and meaningless.
The Place of Prayer here in Bedford is for anyone who desires to pray, the unchurched as well as those who participate in local churches. The Place of Prayer is a fresh and new experience, open to all, and provides structure without distraction, enlivening the prayer life of all who enter it.
This Place of Prayer began as a Prayer Path in 2002, designed as an oasis in nature during troubled times. The Prayer Path has fourteen stations, similar to Stations of the Cross, each station for a particular type of prayer, such as Thanksgiving, Petition, Intercession, Reconciliation, Forgiveness, Healing, and Spiritual Warfare. A Prayer Garden was added in 2003. In 2018 the Prayer Wall was added, intended to imitate the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. In 2019 the Grove, for grounding or earthing, a Prayer Chair, a Resting Place, and benches were added, and a Biblical Garden was begun. A Biblical Garden has plants named in the Bible, of which there are at least 125. This Biblical Garden began with 10 plants that are common to this area: onion, dill, garlic, cucumber, etc. Each plant has a fact sheet with Biblical reference, history, and uses. The plan is to add ten plants a year, and include fruit trees as well.
There is a visitor approximately once or twice a week, some alone, others with a partner, or small group. Retreats have been held here as well, and if they call ahead, there is a Prayer Guide. It is open dawn to dusk until the first snowfall, and opens again in the Spring when the snow has melted. An indoor prayer room is available during inclement weather.
Submitted by Rev. Dr. Lori Wiley, Retired Pastor