Saturday, 04 December 2021

The praying lounge

THE airport at Santo Cruz, Madeira, is very small. Yet it has all the essentials —

THE airport at Santo Cruz, Madeira, is very small. Yet it has all the essentials — one runway, a duty free shop, a few check-in desks and a “praying lounge”. To make sure we get the message, a picture of a little man on his knees accompanies the words on the signboard.

It has jokingly been said, though no longer with any validity, that since the runway was extended prayer is needed to get the plane off the ground before it runs out of ground to get off!

All airports these days have a place where people of any faith or none can go to pray or be prayed for, or just to be quiet for a while before starting the journey.

But a praying lounge has a more friendly, homely sound than a chapel or prayer room. It was also easily accessible, not hidden down a corridor somewhere as they seem to be in bigger airports.

It made me think. Isn’t a praying lounge something we all need? In the midst of our busy coming and going, it is good to turn, however briefly, to God in prayer.

Before journeys or in busy workdays, a turning of heart and mind to the quiet empty spaces of God. Before meals, an acknowledgement that all good things come from him. Somewhere to sit and let the problems of the day unwind. At waking and sleeping, a moment to rest comfortably in his presence. Somewhere to relax in the presence of our Father and know ourselves at home with him.

A praying lounge doesn’t have to be only in Santo Cruz; the place of prayer is wherever we turn to God and find that he is there with us. It’s that simple.

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