Making Room For Prayer
Over the past twenty years or so of ministry, I have fielded a lot of questions about prayer. These questions have ranged from the simple ("How do I pray?") to the complex ("Why did God ignore my prayers?").
For the next couple of days I am going to address a couple of the most frequent questions that I've received over the years: "How do I pray more effectively?" and "How do I know my prayers are appropriate?"
First, let's address the notion of effective praying. Jesus told his disciples the most effective way to pray was to do this:
"When you pray, go into your room and when you have shut the door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly." - Matt 6:6
I've heard lots of teachings on this passage, and the interpretations of "go into your room" are wide and varied.
Some people have said that what Jesus meant was to draw your prayer shawl over your head and create a "room" wherever you are--as in the Jewish tradition. Others have said it means to go into a literal room in your house designated for prayer.
One of the best ones I've heard comes from Oswald Chambers who speaks of "shutting the door of your mind" and closing out all of the distractions of life so you can hear the Holy Spirit.
The point is, each day we should find a space (either physical or spiritual) to close ourselves off from the things that keep us from sharing intimacy with God.
For some of us, our "room" is the outdoors, hiking, walking, biking, kayaking and the like. For others, our secret place is a nook in our house where we find peace and quiet.
Still others of us can create quiet in our thoughts as we steal away for cup of coffee at our favorite coffee shop, or our favorite bench in a park.
May you find your prayer "room" today, and take the time to simply be with God. Create the space in your life for you to have a conversation with the One who longs to be in relationship with you, and who desires your company.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.