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Praying “Our Father” in the Coffee Shop

Image by Andrew Griffith via Creative Commons

Some mornings I start my day listening to the hum of people in the coffee shop. Sitting quietly in a corner, I read and listen. The stir of people meeting, getting their morning coffee, greeting one another, and ordering drinks helps keep me alert. Recently, I’ve taken to quietly mouthing my morning prayers. Something about reading words aloud (even at a low, low-level) is different from simply reading silently “in my head.”

One day recently, I softly mouth the Lord’s Prayer. I feel the words change meaning. Lifting up these words in the coffee shop cause me to hear them as prayer in the midst of the earthi-ness of the world. The words leave my mouth. Step outside of me. Echo back to me. They seem to take in and take up the environment in prayer.

“Our Father” is present in this room. I am lifting up this simple prayer on behalf of every person standing or sitting around me. For this moment in time, we are present together, and I am saying, “Our Father.” Not simply “My Father.” “All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made” (John 1:3). All people were created in and through Him. Even as I lift up my own weakness and needs, I am lifting up the beautiful and beloved people all around that have been created in and through the Word.

All of us were called by the Father above into existence. Even as the word “Our” rises, I hear the blessing of “Father” for the single mom struggling to contain her child, the rowdy businessmen behind me, the tired Barista leaning up against the bar. Now even as I continue praying, I realize that I am also praying in concert with the saints across the ages. In some mystery, we join together and pray “Our Father” in relation with and on behalf of a wounded and weary world.

Prayer cleans the eyes and opens the ears. A moment ago, I was sitting in the midst of chattering room. Now I am beholding light shining upon and out from these creatures of wonder that our Lord created for His glory. I catch but a momentary glimpse of “on earth as in heaven.”

To be continued.

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