I prayed outside this morning. We’ve had crummy weather in Chicago lately, but today it’s sunny and warm. Wednesday is the day I go to synagogue to pray with a minyan. In Judaism there is importance in a group of ten, it signifies community. With a minimum of ten people (a minyan) there are certain prayers that can be added to the worship service that you wouldn’t recite if you prayed on your own. It was a nice surprise to find out today’s service would be held outdoors in our courtyard.
When I first started Prayables my intention was only to build an iPhone app. I contracted with a company; Appiction, to develop a project plan for a prayer app that included the little icon that would represent our brand in the iTunes store and on an iPhone screen. I was very specific about what I wanted and what I didn’t want. Make it contemporary, bright colors, inclusive in look and feel. No clasped hands, no religious symbols, no angels, and no light streaming from the heavens.
Here’s what I got: an image of a woman in a flower-filled field of butterflies, arms outstretched to the heavens above, wearing a flowing dress over very large hips. Seriously, who prays like that? It’s interesting that a graphic designer would come up with that picture in mind and associate it with prayer. To me, it looks like a ’70s hippie on an acid trip.
And still, praying outdoors is special. No matter what the setting is; when you pray outdoors, the breeze touches your skin and the sunlight filters through your closed eyelids. Without a roof overhead, you experience an extraordinary closeness to God. Try it.