Updated: Jul 27, 2019
I have been a Christian for almost 40 years and prayer has been an ongoing part of my life. I almost keep a running dialog going with God, knowing that He is always as close to me as my own breath so I can speak to Him, with Him, anywhere, any time, no matter what is going on around me ... especially with the sometimes chaos that goes on around me. I am a person of prayer, and hope to always walk in this awareness of His nearness, this knowing that He knows my every thought even before I speak it, knows my every need even before I ask.
But I have never developed the habit of having a time of prayer when I physically draw apart from the world and spend time alone with God, not in study, I spend hours upon hours in quiet study, but withdrawing to a quiet place and just resting in His presence, still and silent.
And the older I grow, the more I feel drawn to it. Perhaps it is due in part to my writing. I am working on the first of a series of New Testament historical novels and as I have written intimately of the day to day life of Elizabeth, for example, with whom I can so closely relate, in her times of prayer vigil, I have found myself wanting to experience the practice of it. My prayers, being offered up on the spot and often in the presence of others have always by necessity been silent for privacy sake, my heart doing the crying out that my words could never convey anyway, although I will certainly confess that there have been times when I have quite literally groaned aloud with the depth of my feelings ... and I do on occasion voice my thoughts. But perhaps we Protestants, in our attempt to throw off the chains of ritual for the freedom of inspiration, have lost something precious in this matter of the discipline of set times, morning and evening, for quiet communion and prayer.
And so, I wonder what it might be like, how liberating it might be to actually set aside time to be alone with my Lord, morning and evening, in some private place, speaking aloud my prayers, perhaps stumbling at first, offering up a few ritualized prayers to loosen my tongue, but then perhaps set free to speak my mind to Him, He knows it anyway, but to be able to articulate what is in my heart and pour it out at his feet, speaking aloud into his ears and out into the world of the powers and forces and thoughts and fears and joys and desires that move me ... And then, when I have emptied myself, my tongue falls silent, and my spirit is stilled, then to sit in peaceful, quiet solitude, and give Him time to speak ... speak healing and hope and peace and life down deep into my weary soul.