Today is Shhhh day here at the GO Conference, which means it’s prayer day.  Every day so far has started with a general meeting, worship followed by a lecture / seminar type presentation, and after that there has been a 15 to 30 minute time for prayer called shhhh time.  No or very little talking is done as people sit and read their Bibles, or walk through the grounds and pray.  Today began differently, with a Prayer Medina –

Okay, what is a Medina, I asked the other day.  It’s a “marketplace” sort of like a flea market, where stalls (or in this case tables or spots on the floor) were set up to represent a variety of “goods” available to buy.  Several days ago there was a Medina set up for various countries around the world where there are OM teams at work, each one manned by a person in the dress of that country.  Some offered samples of the food, or literature about the area.

The fellow manning the Eqypt table wrote the name Bette for me in Arabic.  (He’s a very fair-skinned American working in Eqypt, and although he was dressed as an Eqyptian and speaks the language, he looks like someone we’d see back home in Florence.  He has been one of the Discovery Group leaders.  It’s a bit disconcerting sometimes to see a scenario like that, and there are quite a few of them here…)

Today the Medina areas set up represented a variety of prayer needs, such as the need for freedom from a bad habit or sin – that was a cross; or the need to plant seeds somewhere (seeds of love, forgiveness, healing) – that was a table covered with actual seeds; the need for living water – that was a swath of water-colored cloth running down from several levels. There was a golden calf prominently displayed – you can guess that what one represented.

There were handouts available for those who wanted to follow a suggested list of prayer needs as they prayed and meditated during the day, as the people weren’t required to stay in that room all day and could go out for walks or go to the dining room, main lounge or to their rooms, which is what I did.

The Shhhh time began after breakfast with several worship songs followed by an explanation of what each “marketplace stall” represented, and then the quiet prayer time began.  It was broken only by the lunch meal during which everyone could talk, but afterward a new Shhhh time began for the afternoon.  It has been quite a different atmosphere here today as everyone respects and honors this specially set-apart time.

Tonight’s meeting / worship will be outdoors and we were encouraged to dress warmly.  I seem to have added a slight cold with sniffles to my achy foot, so I will probably only observe for a while and perhaps take a few pictures.