Today I want to have a look at a much quoted verse of the Bible, considering it from multiple perspectives – particularly considering Silence. Inviting you to see prayer as an opportunity to listen and be in harmony, rather than to beg and plead.
But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thine inner chamber, and having shut thy door, pray to thy Father who is in secret, and thy Father who seeth in secret shall recompense thee.Matthew 6:6 (ASV)
Yes – I am very aware that I have chosen an older translation of this verse, rather than a modern one! That is an intentional choice.
Forget about praying to God “out there” – and instead get ready to find God “within you”.
Putting this in context:
To put this in context, the verse preceding this is about those who pray in public, on the street corners – to be seen. This could apply to any part of life – whether it be prayer, giving to the poor or tithing, or helping others in any way. What are we doing “to be seen” as doing good?
That’s just EGO talking.
What will other people think of me?
So, we read after this:
And in praying use not vain repetitions, as the Gentiles do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.Matthew 6:7-8 (ASV) Emphasis added
Long-winded and repetitious prayers are no more necessary than praying in public to be seen by others. In fact, in verse 9, Jesus teaches how to pray: consider how short-and-sweet The Lord’s Prayer is! It covers everything and yet gets to the point very quickly.
In fact, when you consider all of the verses about Jesus going off to pray, we discover not so much what he said, but rather where he prayed and the silence in which he prayed.
Today, I invite you to explore the Silence of going within.
Entering the Silence
As you enter into the silence, you may find yourself wondering about your separation from I AM. Consider whether you have found a connection with your purpose – the role and part that you play in the whole.
Yes, you are just one person. But remember that Moses was only one person, someone who was too scared to speak in public, and needed Aaron to do the speaking for him.
Martin Luther King Jr. was just one person, as was Gandhi or Nelson Mandela.
Who are you to only see your unworthiness and to fail to step into your purpose?
As you come into the silence for prayer, consider also how often you enter into the silence. Is this something you only do occasionally – when you have a problem?
What kind of prayer are you practising? Is this begging and pleading, repeating your problems over and over, as if the Divine were not Omniscience and All-Knowing?
Or are there moments when you arrive, sitting in faith and peace? Do you come to prayer reading to connect, with an expectation of being still and knowing that I am THAT I am? We are challenged to sit in the silence and peace of faith – of knowing that all we need is already known.
Is there space in your prayer for connecting with all that is – Creator and Creation – with the Omnipresence of all-beingness?
Take time to consider the attitude you hold when you come to pray.
Enter into the inner chamber
You are invited to go into your inner chamber. I don’t believe this necessarily means a room or “a closet” – but rather to go within. To that place within where Spirit dwells.
If you are struggling to go within, try for a moment to focus on something tangible, such as your heartbeat in your chest. Focus all your attention on that. Once you are very conscious and aware of that, then drop your attention down into your belly – perhaps even locating your heartbeat above your belly-button.
Allow yourself to focus on the inner you – rather than what is happening in the exterior world.
Become aware of your thoughts. Are they racing? Also notice your emotions and feelings. Simply acknowledge them – without judgement and without giving more weight to them. Connect for a moment with any fears or concerns that you are carrying.
Are you ready to release them and simply offer them over to the Divine?
Many times we think that we are meant to only offer up our blessings – but we are invited to offer up all that we have. This includes handing over the worries and anxiety that you have.
From this place of awareness – are you ready to shut the door on the outer world?
Shut the door when you pray
Now, such the door on the emotions and thoughts that you brought with you to prayer. Turn off the inner critic and the busy monkey mind that was chattering away with all the to-do lists of the day.
Close the door on your senses – smell, touch, taste, sight and sound.
Forget the external world and tune in – with all your awareness – to the spiritual realm. Ready to be present with Spirit.
Now, as you connect with the Divine, know that you are promised that Spirit is within you. There is nowhere to go looking for Spirit. Just be present with God, as Spirit is present with you.
Whatever you were carrying – your cares, your burdens, your worries or your fears – release them and hand them over. Put them down (and commit that you will not pick them back up again!).
When you acknowledge the Omnipotence, Omniscience and Omnipresence of the Divine – you recognise that there is nothing that you carry that is too heavy or too much. Nothing is yours. Not even your problems!
In fact – remove “MY” from your vocabulary. These are not “my problem” or “my challenges”. They are simply “the challenges” that you face at this time. Are you open to no longer owning them?
Now, having put down your problems, worries & fears – allow yourself to be enveloped in the connection and power of Divine Love!
This is where you truly get to Practise the Presence of the Divine!
It is the secret place of meeting – Spirit-to-spirit. Where there is silence.
Be still and know that I AM ALL THAT I AM.
There is no “out there”, as if God were far away. Acknowledge that God has taken up residence in you.
The only thing that can separate you from Divine Love is your choice to live in separation. Only as far away as you choose to hold the distance.
What distance are you choosing to place between you and Spirit? Is God far away – like on a mountain top? Or can you notice how Spirit is everywhere present?
O Eternal One, You have explored my heart and know exactly who I am;Psalm 139: 1-5 (VOICE)
You even know the small details like when I take a seat and when I stand up again.
Even when I am far away, You know what I’m thinking.
You observe my wanderings and my sleeping, my waking and my dreaming,
and You know everything I do in more detail than even I know.
You know what I’m going to say long before I say it.
It is true, Eternal One, that You know everything and everyone.
You have surrounded me on every side, behind me and before me,
and You have placed Your hand gently on my shoulder.
Consider your relationship with the Divine – how have you defined it? Do you view God as a Father? What does God as a Father mean? How are you defining this even?
Notice what it means to be held in the loving embrace of unconditional love. To simply be at one, like a small child sitting safely within a father’s arms: certain in the knowledge that s/he is loved and protected.
Can you feel this in the Silence?
Are you ready to be inspired?
Are you open to receiving in this Silence the Divine Inspiration of your next step forward to fulfilling your purpose?
Part of the reward and recompense that we are promised from prayer is the quiet, still knowing of what to do next. Inspired thought, that will lead you to inspired action.
You are promised the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. Are you simply going to rely on your ego and intellect to lead you? Or are you willing to listen to Spirit within you for the greatness of inspired action?
If you seek with all your heart and soul, you will find the Divine within, as well as the reward of knowing peace and faith.
As you leave the Silence, you take with you the gifts you have received here. The reward of that quiet stillness in your heart and soul. The release of having left your burdens as an offering, and yet coming away with the confidence of knowing what to do next.
This doesn’t magically remove all the obstacles and challenges (although sometimes you get that miracle). Instead, it is simply that inspired knowing of the next right step forward. The Wisdom that comes from connecting with Spirit and listening to that Still, Small Voice.
Are you ready to go into your inner chamber and pray?