Isn’t it interesting how everyone seemed to know that Jesus habitually prayed in the garden of Gethsemane? This realization is awkward for me. I can just imagine a CSI-esque scene like this: I am missing. They search the house for clues. The detective states confidently, “He hasn’t been gone long. The TV remote is still warm.” (Great. Just g-r-e-a-t.) Perhaps we would do well to mimic Christ’s example & use our idle time a bit more wisely. (Note to self: This means moi.)
Upon further review of this scene, it is intriguing to me that Jesus, who seemed to be travel a great deal, had a favored spot for time alone with God. He wasn’t a frequent visitor in Jerusalem. Yet, He was known to enjoy this peaceful spot to commune with God.
If Jesus required a specific place to be with God, perhaps we would be remiss if we didn’t have a similar tradition. My wife, Doris, grew up on a farm. As a little girl, she had her “Prayer Pasture” where she could talk & listen to God. (Reason #514 for wishing I had known her then.) What a wonderful place for prayer.
For me, I don’t have a specific place for prayer. I do have a traditional time for prayer. Twelve years ago I started telecommuting with my job. Reading various articles & books for advice, several of them recommended starting & ending each day with a walk outside. Feeling the weather (hot/cold, dry/rainy, etc.) provides a good boundary for your workday. So I started walking our dog, a beagle-mix named Molly. Each morning & evening, regardless of the weather, we make a 1-mile circuit through the neighborhood. Below is an abbreviated journal from one morning’s prayer walk this week, with Molly’s “thoughts” in bold:
I put on my most pitiful look to make sure we are doing this. It seems awfully cold & icy out there. As the cold wind hits my face, I recall that God is our Creator. Despite all of our knowledge & best efforts, simple weather can still confound us. God is something else.
I stop at my favorite signpost to see if there have been any new visitors on our trek. Nope. Same crowd. As we pause at a signpost, I start turning over my concerns to God. Isn’t it amazing how a perfectly good morning can be quickly swamped by worries & problems? I use this portion of my walk to clear them off of my plate & place them before God. Today’s worries center on a proposal for a long-time client & good health for the boys.
Ah, the big evergreen bushes. Five years ago there were rabbits here. I check every day to see if they have come back. I wave at our friend, Helen, as she drives by (Helen always sits by us at 7:45 church.). I begin praying for friends & for folks in our small groups. This morning’s focus is on money: courage in a job search for one friend, financial peace for one family, & wisdom for a new career venture for another.
There’s Moses, the basset hound. I dawdle to make sure he sees me. Yes! He starts howling. His master opens the door & yells, “Get in here, now.” Mission accomplished. As we stop at the cul-de-sac, I pray on a laundry list of items for personal growth & improvement. I ask for encouragement & patience (lots of patience) as I seek to do His will.
We are at the halfway point. One time I saw this strange creature. Dad said it was an opossum. I just stood there. I didn’t bark. I didn’t move. Some things are just too weird. I now begin to chat with God about “God-questions.” Sometimes it is about a verse I am contemplating. This day it is for my Christian Hero class. This week we are looking at the life of C.S. Lewis. He was a famous apologist for the faith. Maybe we’ll talk about what “apologist” means. (Defender of a position in a long-standing argument.) Perhaps discuss whether we are in a position to explain our faith. If we find that we aren’t quite prepared for that discussion, create some steps to help us become better equipped.
The hill. And some say Kansas is flat. I am now just quiet. As we walk along, I just listen for God. This is my favorite part. My time with God is almost done. I feel at peace & ready to start the day.
Home. Time for some water & hanging around the table while the brothers eat breakfast. Amen.