But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. “When you are praying, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard because of their many words.
(Mat 6:6-7 NRS)
When I visited my youngest son at his college, he lamented that his Buddhist roommate had more going on with God than any Christian he knew. As I looked around their room decorated with colorful prayer flags and smelling of tea, I asked why he thought that.
Weary, my son said, “Because he wakes up and prays an hour every morning before dawn.” Sadly, he prayed sitting cross-legged in the middle of their dorm room, chanting, and burning incense when all my son wanted to do was sleep.
Exhausted, my son finally told his roomie, “You have to choose between talking to God at 5 am and rooming with me.” The boy chose God and my son found a roommate who didn’t pray. Sad all around–so many denominations long ago stopped teaching people to pray.
This led to an interesting conversation about the followers of Christ and prayer. In these verses, Jesus calls us to a quiet place where we can be alone with God. He also calls us into a place where we can be real with God leaving behind all formulas and expectations. It is a place where we can talk and listen as our true selves. Jesus even promises that God will show up: “your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”
May Lent be a time of being yourself with God in a quiet place where the two of you can listen to each other.
You can receive April’s thoughts during Lent via email by clicking in the upper right hand menu. Or follow April on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aprillove