Jesus and his friends were having a discussion on prayer.
“The next time you try to pray, go into your closet.” Jesus told the rest.
“Go into your closet” I guess was Jerusalem slang for taking a time out. To go into your closet means to break away from the mundane, to escape your daily routine, to chill out on your own.
Your closet is your safe space, the place (physical or emotional) where you feel completely at ease. It can be anything: A favourite sofa in a sunny corner of the house, the back porch, underneath the big tree next to the compost heap, in the garage, knee deep in a trout river, a coffee spot close to work, the sauna of the gym or even the closet in the guestroom.
Mine is the kitchen. This is where I write, think, create, eat and love. From now on I’ll try to pray here as well.
But if you think of it, if prayer is the soul’s yearning to be in conversation with God, then to do this we need to slow down, we need to stop the craziness of life and retreat to our safe spaces.
There’s this great story of an ancient prophet who felt all the stress of being the voice of God in everyday life. In a cave, close to burn out, God spoke to him. Here's what happened according to an ancient story guru:
“A hurricane wind ripped through the mountains and shattered the rocks before God, but God wasn't to be found in the wind; after the wind an earthquake, but God wasn't in the earthquake; and after the earthquake fire, but God wasn't in the fire; and after the fire a gentle and quiet whisper.” 1 Kings 19
When I am honest about my struggle with prayer I need to confess that I’ve been waiting for the winds, earthquakes and fires of life to be the voices of God in my own life. On yesterdays post, Harold made a comment about expectations and prayer. He hit the nail right on the head. I was expecting a voice that can shout over and above the loudness of (my) life.
But then God comes and speaks with a gentle and quite whisper.
No wonder I need to go into the closet.