What sort of situation might provoke in you an urge to pray?
Perhaps a scene of natural majestic beauty - like this seascape, photographed on Islay earlier this year?
Or perhaps a situation of danger?
Let me tell you another of my true stories from the dark side of employment pre-Health & Safety Executive days.
This particular event happened early on in my roofing 'career.'
As I said before, I started that summer job with a very definite phobia about heights.
(It's no use telling me that choosing a job as a roofer was probably not the best option for someone like me: the truth of the matter is that it was all that was available at the time and it is amazing what some people will do for a little bit of cash!! Especially students.)
Anyway, I arrived at the site of our first assignment - a set of factory roofs in East Kilbride.
These were called 'nest factories' but this description had nothing to do with any avian housebuilding activities. I think it had something to do with most of the companies being 'fledgling' companies, but maybe I'm making that one up.
At any rate the one good thing about this being our first job was that the roofs of these particular factories were not too high. A mere 30 feet or so. A good place for an acrophobic* student to begin. [*look it up if you don't know what it means]
There was one drawback, however.
Although the roofs were only about 30 feet off the ground... the ladder we used to access it was a bit less than 30 feet. It meant that to get on to the roof you had to climb to the second top rung of the ladder then reach up to grab the flashing on the wall-head and pull yourself up the last three or four feet. When I saw one of the existing workers engaging in this particular acrobatic feat while simultaneously holding a large propane gas cylinder on his shoulder, I began to contemplate taking a vow of poverty for the summer. But I couldn't escape very easily and soon it was my turn to attempt to get onto the roof. It felt as if my stomach got up there before the rest of me but by concentrating hard and not looking down I managed it.
Well, this was to become a several-times-a-day routine over the next couple of weeks and eventually (to my own amazement) I too could be seen quickly shinning up that wallhead from the top of the ladder while carrying all sorts of objects, like buckets and brushes and compressor hoses... and, yes, even a propane gas cylinder. But I didn't ever dare look down.
Now, the 'regular' workers knew that we were all students but, as far as I was aware, they had no idea what subjects any of us were studying. (For a lot of the time neither had we, but that's another story!)
We were a diverse foursome in this respect.
Electronics. Chemistry. Law.. and, of course, in my case... Theology.
But nobody knew... I thought.
Then, one day, the foreman (a rough, red-faced Glaswegian by the name of Ronnie) was holding the foot of the ladder on which I was climbing. His job was to make sure the ladder did not slip. I was carrying something in my hand at the time. I think it was a bucket.
I was almost at the top of the ladder and therefore reaching up to take hold of the wallhead with my free hand when suddenly the ladder started to fall back away from the wall into a vertical position. Involuntarily, I looked down!! Almost 30 feet below me Ronnie was pulling the ladder backwards and forwards, backwards and forwards, while I clung desperately to the top of it like some sort of performing monkey.
And from down below I heard Ronnie's voice bellow out in mocking Glaswegian tones "Aw right then, Reverend, let's hear ye saying yer prayers noo!! Ha! Ha!"
He didn't hear me...
but -believe me- he had certainly provoked within me an urge to pray!