As a little girl, I remember learning to pray in a small Lutheran church. I had already learned to talk to God on my own. My mother used to put me in front of those old black and white movies about Jesus when they came on around Easter. Talking to God was an innocent automatic thing with me. I fell in love with the Jesus those movies portrayed. I had no idea that prayer seemed to have some sort of structure, at least that is what I was picking up.
As time went on, as a very young woman, I started to hear about “the prayer closet”. Before I really understood what that meant, I had visions of me sitting in a dark closet all alone feeling kind of creepy and wondering if God is in there with me. It all sounded a bit scary! I guess at the time it never dawned on me that I could put a light in the closet so it’s not so creepy!
“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room (closet), close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
It really got strange when I started having children. I would be in prayer, the phone would ring, a child would answer, and I would hear them say, “Mom is in the closet right now, she can’t come to the phone”! Now there is a lovely picture of insanity!
As I grew in my faith and understanding I came to know that our bodies are the temple of God’s Holy Spirit and He resides inside of us when we invite Him. The Bible also says we should pray without ceasing. It became clear to me that praying was something that happened from the inside ongoing through life. Talking to God and listening became a whole lot easier when I just let it happen as my soul moved closer to Him. Wasn’t that what I did as a child?
1 Corinthians 6:19
“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?
1 Thessalonians 5:16 -18
“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances;for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
It has been a blessing because I also discovered that I can hear God very well this way, minus the creepy part of course! It comes easy because of the love we have for one another; mine for God and Him for me. Over the years my heart and mind turned to Him continually, not just as a friend, but as a best friend. I discovered that it is amazing to be a walking prayer closet. That way, I know I am ready to face anything at any time. I have Him and He has me.
You would be astounded as to what you witness and come to know when you learn to practice inviting God into your inner prayer closet! The temple is empty without Him. Turn your heart and mind toward God often and you will see just how easy and natural it becomes to have a living Father who loves to communicate with you and instruct you for your life.
Holy Father, bring me to Your temple, Your closet, in my heart. Join me there, and you can be my God and I can be Your child, forever and ever, AMEN!
From the closet,
Pastor Jenine Marie Howry
**Photo credit-The Rock Miami