my dear friend heather and her husband david are following a nudge from the holy spirit to plant a prayer room in for their community in Cascade, which will be located in their basement! i love the radical, counter-cultural move they are making by doing this. and it has the finger-prints of papa all over it.
heather has written a blog to chronicle it’s unfolding and invite her community into this new thing. you can check it out here. and, if you live in Cascade or Ada (hey, i never know who might be reading these… maybe some of you are in that area!), i hope you’ll sign up for a slot (or two, or five).
heather asked me if i’d write a little “guest post” for her about my personal experience with the sacred space afforded by prayer rooms like this. here is what i wrote:
heather, dear old friend of mine, asked me if i’d be a guest blogger in this space, to share a little bit of testimony about how Papa has used prayer rooms (like your Cascade Prayer Room) in my life. and i’m so happy to do this because i am so hungry for others to have similar experiences.
for a year i lived in an intentional, missional community on the west side of the city, and there we had a 3-stall garage behind our house which was converted into a prayer room. for at least two hours each day, i was in that space, usually with others, and often alone, practicing prayer. over the course of that year, and since, the intentional seeking of God’s face in prayer rooms has been my means of “abiding” in Jesus and staying attached to the Vine.
here is what i am certain of: that God wants to know us and to be known by us. he is more jealous for my heart quieted before Him than He is for 50 years of my Christian service. yet all of life seems to be an enemy to that intimacy. there is so much to do. in fact, as i write this post, i am in the middle of more transitions and massive projects than i have been in a long time and everything in me rebels against taking the time to get quiet before my Father.
but prayer rooms help. “the righteous run to God and are saved” (prov 18:11). so many times when my heart was overwhelmed or i was in desperate need, it has been sweet relief to run to Him and be saved. of course, we run to Him in our hearts first, but the physical space to which I could run, as a symbol of the inward turning of my heart, has been important. in prayer rooms, i can unravel, pull off layers of defenses, shed burdens, and pour out my heart to the God who commands me to do just that (lam 2:19).
in my prayer room, i have heard His voice, cried out to Him, received His guidance, felt His love, allowed Him to rearrange my insides, interceded for others, worshiped deeply, and affirmed my commitment to Him. He has always met me there. and so even now, whenever i enter that space, i am met with a rushing waterfall of memories of His goodness to me in that place. it’s a place where i remember who my God is, and who I am. i don’t mean to make this sound as if the prayer room is magical or some necessary medium through which we must pass to meet with God. but i do believe that prayer rooms offer us something qualitatively different from the hurried prayers we pray on the way to work, or the “quiet time” we attempt to have at the kitchen table. and because so many other brothers and sisters have likewise met with God in that space, and the Spirit of God fills such places where His people seek Him, encounters with God in the prayer room include a certain thickness of His presence that I can’t quite find words for.
this matters. and it matters because He wants our hearts. our husband is inviting His bride to come and sit with Him a while, far from where to-do lists and piles of laundry distract. He wants to give Himself and His kingdom to us! maybe a few hours in a prayer room is a way of positioning ourselves to receive from Him the good gifts He stands poised to give to us.
oh, man was it ever good for me to take the time to write that out, though the result is bumbling and insufficient, i fear. good because i haven’t had a good chunk of time alone with Jesus in longer than i care to admit. and when i took the time to sit down and remember times when my intimacy with Him has been flourishing, it makes me a little thirsty again. it’s a nudge to return to what i know to be true.