Thursday, October 18, 2012
Shut the Door
But when you pray, go into your room, shut the door and pray to your Father.
When I pray, not if.
Jesus commanded me: Go into your room, Tamera. Jesus is asking me to be intentional. He is telling me to make a conscious will-altering change of direction. I have to decide to remove myself from the traffic of my home and life and all its demands. I must go into my secret place.
And shut my door.
Often I go into my room, but I fail to close the door.
I forget that I need to close off the rest of the world for a while. I must shut out the demands and the clamoring for my attention. I must willingly close the door against the expectations of the day, against the agenda, against the clock ticking.
I must shut the door and close myself into a space where I might better hear. A place where I might be tunneled to selectively hear One voice.
When I am expecting company for dinner, if weather permits, I leave the door wide open, but when I was teaching last year and would begin the lessons for the day, I shut my door. When we come into our home for the night, we shut the door.
This shutting of the door is a closing off—a boundary. A fence. Jesus, however, is doing more than telling me to shut out the exterior distractions. To keep things out is not his only purpose, but he wants to keep me in—to keep my mind from wandering.
To keep my spirit from flailing (he wants me swaddled like a newborn child).
To keep my attention from being diverted.
To keep my mind fixed on him.
In the Matthew* passage Jesus is talking to his twelve. He has been sitting on the side of a hill speaking to the multitudes. Radically teaching against the religious grain. With authority he is teaching principles that will turn their cultural and religious world upside down and inside out.
And then he turns to his disciples, the ones who have committed to follow him, and he says and when you pray.
When you pray.
And he says to me: Tamera, when you talk with the Father don’t pray for people to see. Don’t pray for an audience. You have a conversation with the Father. Just him. You go to your secret place. Your hidden place, Tamera. You enter the one place no one else can go and you shut the door.
And, Tamera, what you ask and seek from the Father in private, what you bring to him behind that closed door he will answer openly.
First, you must go to your room and shut the door.
* Matthew 6:6