Today’s “lesson” was on creating a prayer closet and committing time every morning to commune with God.
First of all, I’ve always thought of having an actual prayer closet as silly and well, dorky. But this time when I read it, it just made sense.
Read the today’s selection in Mark 1:35-39. Jesus got up very early in the morning and went to a solitary place to pray. There are other examples of the need to be solitary and be in a specific, secluded space to pray. Jesus talks about going into your closet to pray and God will bless it (here). In Proverbs 31:15 it also talks about the Virtuous Woman rising while it’s still night to do her work.
What really struck me is how difficult it has been for me to get into a routine and have daily prayer and Bible study time. I have two girls, ages two and four. They have just both started sleeping better and are almost always sleeping through the night (Hallelujah and praise the Holy One for that, I’m telling ya.) That “To-Do” list is always nipping at my heels. I feel like I’m in constant motion. I’ve attempted putting prayer time and Bible study on my To-Do list, but it always gets pushed off and never gets done. I’ve tried doing it at night after the girls go to bed. Well, we all know what happens then. I fall asleep about two minutes after opening my Bible, leaving a nice puddle of drool inside!
And let’s face it. You try finding a solitary place in a house with a two-year old and a four-year old. (We’re in the midst of potty training right now, so not even the bathroom is safe anymore.) Heck, that prayer closet is looking like a wonderful haven of solitariness right now!
Something else that I found important today in the reading, was how Jesus’ prayer time re-focused his plans for the day. I can totally see how spending just 30 minutes in a solitary place praying and communing with God can not only put you in the right frame of mind, but also alter the course you would take that day.
Partow writes, “If we want to have something valuable to offer the world, we must first have something of value to offer.” Does that sentence hit home with you as much as it does me? I own my own business, and part of my job is to have “something of value” to offer those potential clients. If I don’t have Christ first and the Holy Spirit leading me in my work, then all I am is another clanging symbol in the marketplace. I truly want to be a successful business woman in Christ, so I absolutely have to focus my mind and heart on Christ first. I need to put Christ first: ahead of my business, ahead of my family, ahead of the To-Do List, and ahead of my life.
Yesterday, I rearranged everything in the closets in my home office so that one tiny one remains empty. It’s just enough space for me to sit in there quietly, though not quite enough for me to pray all the way on my knees as I like. I hope to take a few minutes today and figure out a way to make it slightly more comfortable and inviting. (And of course, I’ll have to spend some time cleaning up the disaster my office became in the process of me cleaning out the closet!)
Donna Partow in Becoming the Woman God Wants Me to Be made a really excellent point:
Bruce Wilkinson, author of the The Prayer of Jabez, observed: “I have yet to find a respected spiritual leader throughout history who had devotions at night.” Although I enjoy reading a devotional or Christian book at night, I concur with Wilkinson’s observation about the importance of morning time alone with God. Every book and biography I’ve ever read by spiritual leaders, past and present, and every person ever used mightily of God indicated that meeting with God was their first order of business. Morning devotions set the agenda and the tone for the day.
So, after my own desperate struggles to attempt doing the devotions on my own time, I’ve come to the realization that I have to accept that the mornings are God’s time.
One plus is that my phone rings less in the mornings, and also the girls have decided that they like getting up at 6am. The minus is I am not a morning person. It takes me ages for my brain to wake up and be fully functional, even if I’m moving around. So I might not be able to do exactly as Donna Partow suggests, and “Before you meet with family, before you face the world, before you do anything else, meet with God.” But I do commit to making Prayer Time and Bible Study the first on my “Can Do” list each day.