Thursday night a friend and I were walking back from the shuk at Makane Yehuda. We both looked up at the same time to see if the man on the third floor of an apartment building was out on his balcony. He was. Each of us, during our own strolls in our neighborhood, discovered a man who always, no matter what time of the day or night, is sitting at a small table with a book, presumably the Torah. He faces towards the Old City of Jerusalem.
The apartment building adjacent to mine is adding an outside elevator and refurbishing the front entrance with walkways and a patio out of golden Jerusalem stone. The men who are constructing the elevator start very early in the morning, often it’s a noisy wake up call. You also find in the same vicinity of the worksite, foam rubber pads that they use to stop and pray throughout the day as Muslims are called to do. The noise stops when the men pray.
A Christian congregation, who worship in the bottom of a building on Yaffo Road, also have offices on the 14th floor of that same building. Right next to the offices is a chapel with windows that overlook Jerusalem. They have a prayer watch wherein an individual or group takes a one hour watch and prays. There are twenty-four watches, seven days a week. Each one of the watches are filled.
Jews come to the Kotel, the wailing wall, to offer prayers of the heart and written prayers in the holiest of holy places. Muslims prostrate themselves in prayer in unlikely places; outside of their cabs, in a small corner of a plaza. Nuns pray the rosary inside of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. I am confident that at any time of the day or night in Jerusalem, prayers of the people are being offered to the Holy One, God, the Beloved. How can this not be a thin place?
The apostle Paul told the Thessalonian people to do three things. To rejoice always, to pray unceasingly, and in every circumstance give thanks. Jerusalem is a city that prays unceasingly. I am reminded of Paul’s words each time I walk out my door because prayer is such an essential part of people’s lives here. To dedicate one’s life to prayer, and in prayer is an our expression of God’s great love for us. To live your life as a prayer is the ultimate gift that we can offer.