I love teaching in The Daily Prayer Project for many reasons. But one of those is that it sharpens and inspires me!
In one of my after-class discussions a couple of weeks ago, I was talking with a project participant, whose name is Ogo, about the importance of interacting with people in such a way that we can maintain connection with God. Here’s what I mean by that.
In my book, Contending for the Habit of Daily Prayer, Revised and Expanded, Chapter 14, I make the claim that you can’t really be defensive and humble at the same time, or angry and thankful at the same time. You have to leave one behind in order to engage in the other. So, if we are going to live out of the Secret Place, we will have to choose, like Jesus, to empty ourselves (see Philippians 2:6-7).
Imagine instead that we have a personal place carved out in the Secret Place where we live and move and have our being in the Presence of God. Now, imagine that every call for our involvement with people and the things of the world comes to us while we are in that hallowed place with God. We know that we cannot bring our fallen reactions into the Presence of God and leave them unchecked, so, since the Presence of God is too precious to sacrifice, we choose to process everything in His Presence. This may mean sustaining some abuse or mistreatment for the sake of staying our minds on Him.
The typical experience–for people living a harried Christian life–is we look back after a bad interpersonal interaction, realizing only then that our actions created a wedge between us and God. I am happy to report, however, that we can, with the help of the Holy Spirit, learn to anticipate situations that threaten our ability to live from the Secret Place, thereby giving us the opportunity to choose the Presence of God over the temporary satisfaction of giving someone “a piece of our mind.”
Ask the Lord to help you live out of the Secret Place. But let’s be clear: I am not saying we should learn how to live outside of the Secret Place! I’m saying cultivate the Secret Place–at all costs–and stay there even when you have to go about the business of the day!