Jesus used the term closet. In Matthew 6:6 he said, “But when you pray, enter into your closet and when you have shut the door, pray to your Father which is in secret, and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.” Now the main principle here is don’t perform your prayers for others. Prayer is a personal conversation with God, it is not a religious performance.
But Jesus words contain another idea, namely do you have a place? Do you have a place where you can go to hang out with God? A place with no cell-phone service, no ipods allowed, a place of quiet stillness? A place where it might be easier to hear the whisper of God.
Last year, Lynn and I started my sabbatical with a spiritual retreat. We stayed in a big old house on a lake in Wisconsin. We were served by a couple and an organization that provides spiritual retreats to pastors. It was a great way to start a sabbatical. But one of the high-point moments came in their prayer cabin, a little building — about 12×15 — set near the woods but in view of the lake. With a wood burning stove, a comfortable chair or two, it was the perfect place to spend time with God. It just seemed like the kind of place where Jesus would settle in to talk. Lynn and I had a great evening praying together and alone. I think I like a prayer cabin better than a prayer closet. Someday we’ll have one up at Harvest Fields.
Meanwhile, where is your place? Sometimes Jesus would get into a boat and have his disciples take him to a place where no one could follow. His place was a boat. Susannah Wesley sat in the corner of her kitchen and pulled her apron up over her head. When her children saw that they knew they couldn’t bother her because mother was meeting with God. The underside of an apron was her place. Across the street from my first church was a cemetery. I can’t tell you how many times that was my place. Maybe you’re place is under a tree on top of Mt. Nittany, or in your car sitting on a forgotten road in Rothrock, or with a cup of coffee on the porch. Chances are good if you don’t have a place and a time, there will be no place anytime.
So grab your lifejournal. Find a place. Sit down with your Bible and listen for the whisper of God. His Words do more good than you know… when they are heard.