|Pine trees in my front yard, in the days when|
snow fell during a Michigan winter.
Up in this tree I felt alone with God. I spent many hours there praying. I loved it when a breeze would move the tree. Inwardly, I was being moved by God's Spirit. This, for me, was a "lonely place apart."
When I assign students to pray I insist that they find a place to do this apart from their home, work place, car, iPad, and texting-machine (cell phone). Call such a place a "lonely place." Why?
- Jesus found "lonely places," away from people and distractions, to pray.
- In the history of Christian spirituality, serious praying was mostly done in "lonely places" such as, e.g., the desert.
I like what James Houston writes: "Prayer is the determination to be alone before God, with no gallery to play to and no distracting comparisons to make." (The Transforming Power of Prayer: Deepening Your Friendship with God, 21)