“But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” (Matt. 6:6)
Those who have learned to pray, have learned the greatest secret of a holy and happy life. - William Law, Christian Perfection
The ancient Celts believed that there existed on earth places they called “thin places”. These “thin places” where locations upon the earth where they believed God's Spirit was more accessible. A place where it was easier to pray, because they felt the distance between God and themselves seemed somehow thinner.
This same concept exists within the minds of people today. People find comfort in finding a special place to pray. A place where we sense God's Spirit is more real to us. These places can be a special prayer room, a church sanctuary, a special place in the woods, their patio or deck or by a lake or river or on a hiking trail. One of my brother-in-law's has a special room in his home where he prays daily.
Even though, we can pray anywhere, because God is always present, a special place does seem to create a “thin place,” where prayer comes much easier to us. Jesus recommends “going in a closet in secret to pray.” I don't find praying in a closet very comforting, but I do understand the point Jesus is making about our prayer life. I do find a few places more comforting toward nurturing my prayer life. My office at the church, the church sanctuary (when no one but me and God are present), in the back yard with the quiet of the night time stars above or the morning sun is raising, or some community or national parks are my favorite locations.
I also have discovered that praying while driving alone to be most helpful, though this is done with my eyes wide open. Rather than getting upset with the poor driving habits of the other drivers, I find peace in praying for them and whatever spiritual needs they may have that day.
What makes a “thin place,” like, a prayer room either in the church, home or elsewhere, helpful to us is that it gives us a place to be intentional about our prayer life. We want to pray, but often we find ourselves attempting to find the time to pray. Our lives seem too filled with other things to pray. If we are waiting to find the time to pray, it will never come. We have to be just as intentional about our daily prayers, as we are about eating. If you went without eating long enough you would die, so we eat to live. If you went long enough without praying, your spiritual life begins to die, so we need to pray to maintain our spiritual nourishment and continue to live and thrive in our discipleship to Jesus Christ.
So where are your “thin places”, where do you find God's Spirit more present to you? Where can you go to intentionally place yourself in a state of prayer and communion with God.