A Quiet Place of Rest in a Busy City
As director of the Presentation Prayer Center, I frequently reflect on our role in the community and the world. Our bylaws state that our purpose is “to facilitate spiritual growth for people of all faiths through opportunities for prayer, solitude, spiritual direction, retreats, and other means of spiritual life enrichment.” Our official mission is similar and invites us to collaborate with others in offering this spiritual nourishment.
After a strategic planning meeting several years ago our board developed a simple tag line meant to describe the Prayer Center: “A quiet place of rest in a busy city.” I offer a few thoughts on that short description, especially the words busy, quiet, and place of rest.
Most people I know are quite busy. They are involved in important activities including raising families, taking care of loved ones, earning a living, volunteering in their church and community, and participating in sports and school. With our society’s emphasis on producing, there always seems to be one more thing to be accomplished. At the end of the day, many are exhausted, and some wonder about the meaning of their busy lives.
In the context of this hurried pace, the prayer center provides a quiet, peaceful environment, tucked away near the Red River in southeast Fargo. On a typical day, participants may come for a contemplative prayer group, individual spiritual direction, a book study or a silent retreat.
Some come because they are facing a family, health or vocational crisis. Others feel they have reached a plateau in their spiritual lives and wish to go deeper. Still others are in a good spot and seek affirmation.
What each has in common is the desire to hear and respond to the voice within. They want to foster the inner life.
To foster that inner life we need to find a place of rest. In Kings 19, God speaks not through a roaring wind, a devastating earthquake or a raging fire, but through a tiny whisper. Yes, we do need to slow down, rest and listen purposefully in order to hear God.
So wherever you are, perhaps you are longing for such a quiet space. I encourage to seek and find such a place. If you do make a commitment to do so and take some quiet time, I guarantee you will return to your ordinary activities with renewed energy and perspective.