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The Prayer Seeker

to take the bad thoughts with the good, as the psalmist had expressed them. In any case,
He would know them already. It was a different world today, but the emotions remained,
if only more cunningly hidden under the veneer of the society in which he lived.
When Michael finally closed the bible and glanced at the clock, he was surprised to
see that over half an hour had elapsed since he sat down. Perhaps then this too might be
classed as prayer, of sorts.
Over the next few days, Michael made small but significant changes to his new way
of life. He took a trip to the local cathedral, a dreadful modern barn of a building set on a
hill, but needs must, he told himself. He had always felt slightly on edge and out of place
there. Not only that, but no matter how warm the day, it always felt like an east wind was
blowing, and of course it was no longer even a utumn.
In the cathedral bookshop, he walked in attempting to look purposeful so that no-one
would stop him and ask if he needed any help. How he hated that in any shops, but it
always seemed worse in religious shops. Sure enough the two white- haired women
behind the counter stopped talking the moment the door swung to behind him and he felt
at once that he was trapped in a place it would be impossible to leave without making a
He’d better try to seize the initiative then. Something his former boss would say,
admittedly, but on this occasion, it might work. So, with what he hoped was a bright and
courteous smile on his face, he approached the counter and asked for the book he was
Afterwards, in the car park, he told himself he should not be so quick to judge others.
The first lady had gone at once to the exact book and handed it to him, whilst her
colleague had rung up the sale at the rather old- fashioned till. Not that he minded that as
he often found the modern sales desk rather too speedy and efficient for him to deal with
so a sliver of old-world slowness suited him perfectly. After all, weren’t slowness and
time to ponder what he was really seeking?
At home, he took out his purchase, recycled the paper bag it came with and glanced
at the title once more: Time to Pray. Very appropriate indeed. Within, it offered him a
way of working through the church’s year in private, containing as it did the various
forms of morning prayer and night prayer for each season, with a scattering of the
It was perfect for his purpose therefore, which was to provide for himself a structure
and a scaffold for the journey into prayer he had already embarked upon. In the days
ahead he suspected he would come to need it.
“So,” Chris said, as Michael settled himself into the chair for his second appointment
with the spiritual director. “Tell me how your fortnight has been, in terms of prayer.”
As at their first meeting, Chris didn’t waste time in small talk, but that was
something Michael appreciated. In truth he didn’t much like idle chat either.