I’m learning more about myself through prayer and cleaning closets.
My early morning habit is to slip away for some still moments and steep in prayer and silence.
First, I offer God gratitude as I enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise (Psalm 100.4).
Then I present my requests to Him.
I call on Jesus for resolution of someone’s private struggles—the ones etched on a face, struggles not yet uttered into the air. I pray for people’s healing—from sickness or injury, or hopelessness and brokenness. I plead for cures from cancer and miracles for many. I request wisdom in certain situations and guidance in my day. I ask for reconciliation in ruined relationships.
After I finish praying, I pick up my iPhone and use my thumb to swipe open my YouVersion Verse of the Day.
Except for this week.
Instead, I read the Seven Hebrew Words devotion app, a seven-day devotion plan. Its subtitle, Seven Hebrew Words Every Christian Should Know, intrigued me and so I signed up earlier in the week.
The reading starts by asking me how often people use prayer as an emergency call or cold call to God. I mentally run down my list of requests. It reminds me how often my prayer involves asking for something.
The devotion claims, “Too often we only pray when we need or want something from God—which is understandable, considering the English definition of pray is to ‘ask or request.’”
I learn the Hebrew word for prayer is tefillah, which means to self-evaluate or to observe our inner self.
Sometimes I don’t want to see my messiness.
Galatians 6:4 tells me each one must examine his own work.
The devotion tells me the Jews used prayer time as a time to examine themselves and “compare their actions, behavior and attitude against God’s holiness.”
In 2 Cor 13:5, Paul wrote to “Examine yourselves to see if you are in the faith; test yourselves! Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail this test?”
Do we have the natural tendency to stitch our lips and look the other way? In looking the other way, we fail the test. In turning our back to our messiness, we close the door so it’s not within our view or the view of others. We think no one will see the skeletons in our closets.
Instead, let us turn toward the face of Jesus, our cloistered clutters and all.
Sometimes, we must ask for help with this innermost search. In Psalm 139:23-24, David challenged the fullest investigation, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way.”
So I search myself, peaking into the secret compartments I think no one can see.
Have you ever cleaned out a messy closet after years of putting it off?
I remember cleaning a closet and being surprised by some of its contents. I forgot about the items tucked away, the ones I buried in the back.
Didn’t I get rid of that?
The same is true as I examine myself. As I reach in, the proof pokes my hands and heart. I uncover an attitude I thought I’d abolished, a behavior I thought I’d obliterated, a grudge I thought I’d purged.
Questions creep into my mind:
Have I sifted through and discarded the clutter in my soul?
Have I been living up to my potential?
Have I cleared away all the fugitive thoughts from the chambers in my mind?
For years, I’ve moved things around from one spot to another.
This week, I pull out the contents. I find some truths that aren’t pretty.
The practice of tefillah challenges me to see the truths about me, and believe His Truth can transform me.
My work is to identify and purge the old.
He works to make all things new.
I’m learning more about myself through prayer and cleaning closets. Click To Tweet Let us turn toward the face of Jesus, our cloistered clutters and all. Click To Tweet I forgot about the items tucked away, the ones I buried in the back. Click To Tweet My work is to identify and purge the old. He works to make all things new. Click To Tweet