Matthew 6:6 tells us, "But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret..."
Mark 1:35, "In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there."
The Bible tells us that when we pray we should intentionally find a place where we can be alone with God. We need to find a place where we can be free to share everything with Jesus. We want a place where we can cry out to the Lord in anger, grief or sorrow and be comfortable shedding tears in front of Him or expressing our deepest fears regardless of how foolish we think they are. We need to find a place where we can humbly ask God to meet our needs when they are not being met by the people we love. We need a place where we can shout with joy and thankfulness when we feel so grateful to Him for all of the blessings He has given us. We need to find a place where we can be vulnerable and transparent before God.
One of the greatest blessings we have in being able to talk privately with the Lord is that we can do it without worrying about feeling embarrassed, judged or uncomfortable. Guess what...He already knows what we're feeling anyway..we may as well let Him hear it from us! It is only by humbly coming before Him and sharing with Him our innermost thoughts that we can begin to establish a meaningful relationship with Him.
Where do I begin??? First, you need to find that quiet place. Some of you may actually be able to FIND a quiet place: a park, a room in your house or a spot in your yard. Unfortunatly, it is often too difficult to focus on God when we are close to home or near anything that reminds us of our "to-do lists"
Many of you may need to use your minds and imaginations to create a quiet place.
Last week we talked about using your imagination in prayer. Today I want to help you experience how your imagination can lead you to a quiet place with God.
Try this experiment. Sit down somewhere where you will find the least amount of distractions, take a few breaths and relax. Close your eyes and think about a place where you either have been or might imagine that is peaceful to you. It could be anywhere. There is not a right or wrong place, it is simply a place that YOU experience as peaceful. Allow yourself to imagine the sights, sounds, scents and things that you feel (such as the wind hitting your face, or the ground toucing your feet). Make a mental note of these things and then notice how this place makes you feel emotionally. How are you feeling physically... relaxed? calm? warm? cool?
The purpose of this exercise is to make you very aware of your physical and emotional responses that occur when you intentionally use your imagination to create images of something that is not physically present. Becoming aware of these responses will allow you to be more attuned to the things and ways in which God will meet you.
Similarly, finding that quiet place will allow you to learn to focus more on the Lord and less on "all those other things you need to do today". Next week we will discuss the topic of discovering the Lord's presence in your quiet place.
Sometimes the concept of using imagination and visualization in prayer makes people uncomfortable because they are concerned it has a "New Age" or "Eastern Religion" component to it. Please open the articles on the side bar which address those questions. I am confident that the use of contemplation and visualization in our prayer lives is not only Biblical but something which has been used throughout the history of Christianity. Please feel free to post any thoughts or comments you may have.
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