Something special is happening in Navah Church. Families, singles, couples and communities are setting up prayer rooms in their homes. They’re taking shape in spare bedrooms, closets, walls, backyards and basements. Without a central prayer room people are initiating their own worship and intercession times and watching as the effects ripple through their week.
Out of scarcity has come ingenuity. As part of the 24-7 Prayer movement we’ve learned that there is no end to the number of ways we can pray. Furthermore, getting creative and being tactile helps us stay focused and keep our times intentional and enjoyable! Here is one tool specific to our season, that can help you detach from the world of responsibilities and center your heart in the affection of Jesus. As you do, you may find your heart beginning to soften and your ears becoming attuned to His voice.
(You can search through a myriad of clever tools to help you pray at the 24-7 Prayer toolshed.)
Open Window, Open Heart
What you need:
- A view. It doesn’t need to be elaborate, but you will need a place to sit either outside or near a window.
- A comfortable spot, pillows or chair that help you rest
- Time – ideally you want at least 15 uninterrupted minutes to practice stillness. However, even a minute in His peace can revive our hearts.
- A journal if you plan to take notes
Scripture Reference: Be still and know that I am God (Psalm 46:10)
The goal of this time is to find your rest in the Lord. He is our Anchor, our Home and our Shelter. Too often, though, our responsibilities and schedules can pull our hearts away from our true north, Jesus. Being distracted isn’t necessarily sinful. As the 18th century pastor Robert Robinson penned, “Prone to wander, Lord I feel it. Prone to leave the God I love.” It is quite human to drift from our place of security. As long as we know our way back home to His presence, we can walk that path as often needed. This exercise will help you make the journey from distracted to connected.
Find a place where you can feel the air on your skin. You may be lucky enough to sit outside, or you may need to find a room in your home with a window. As you open the window acknowledge that you are opening your heart to the Lord.
Father, I give you this time. I have come here to be with you and you alone. I open my heart to know you more deeply. Help me to limit distractions and find you in this time.
As you sit down take note of how it feels to let your legs rest. You may want to put your feet up or lay your head back. Allow your muscles to relax. If it’s been awhile since you rested you may need to consciously put each muscle to rest.
- Release tension in your shoulders. Let them fall as you release the stress that you came to this moment with.
- Note any pain in your neck, back, limbs or joints. Acknowledge that it exists and has been asking for your attention. Entrust it to the Father (Lord, I recognize I have this pain. I trust you to be present with me as I sit with you.)
Turn your ears to the sounds of the outdoors. Depending on your environment you may be hearing cicadas, birds and the wind shaking the leaves of the trees or you may be hearing lawnmowers, cars and construction. Whatever your surroundings, you can tune in to the noises of your neighborhood and let them wash over you. Allow the white noise to become acute. Name the things you hear. In doing so you become aware of where you end and where the outside world begins. Consider this: “As the world moves and breathes around me I can be still and anchored in Christ.”
Feel the elements on your skin. Is there a breeze? Does the air feel wet or dry? Can you sense the sun welcoming you to rest or is there a chill in the air calling you to be alert and awake? Whether hot or cold, comfortable or uncomfortable, begin to welcome a spirit of thanksgiving. Experience the feeling of deep gratitude as you sit in the stillness. In this moment allow every thought, experience, anxiety and concern to find their home in Christ.
I am here and I am present. You have brought me to this moment and I am with you now. In all of creation you are the one I come back to. You are my center.
Spend your last minutes in silent prayer, present to the Lord. Allow Him to search you and know you as you remain open to Him.
<A note: In my personal walk with the Lord this is the beginning of listening prayer. Centering myself in the Lord reminds me who He is and who I am. As I begin relating to Him rightly my thoughts, emotions and priorities find their rightful place. Then and only then can I listen to His still small voice. If you have time after the “Open Window, Open Heart” exercise, you may want to pull out a journal and simply ask, “Abba, what is it you’re saying to me?”