The Secret PlacePosted: July 14, 2012
Gordon MacDonald, in his book, “Restoring your Spiritual Passion” talks about us running on empty; like a motor car which has run out of petrol. We push our empty selves hard up the hills and then, exhausted we coast down the slopes. It’s not the life God wants us to have!
Somehow in the busyness of our lives and the demands of our culture we have lost our energy for God. We suspect that there is something wrong and think that either, we are not working hard enough, or God is ignoring us. Or perhaps both.
MacDonald says quite plainly that we are so spiritually flat because we have lost our intimacy with God. It is this intimacy which gives us fuel for the journey of life, which leads us into the abundance of what God offers us.
The various writers of the Psalms discovered this and have unburdened their souls about their own intimate journeys of discovery. Sometimes we need to share in their exclamations of praise, sometimes in their struggles and disappointments but, more than anything, we need to join with them in their delight in God.
As far as we know, the psalms were all written by men – a number by the priests and worship leaders in the Temple, but mostly by men who spent their time out in the bush. Almost exactly half of the psalms are attributed to David (another 18 can be added, if we follow the ascriptions in the Septuagint). David was the original bush poet. He was an out doors man. A man of the desert, who lived in the bush, slept in caves, hunted for his food.
He was a soldier. A man who had been in the thick of battle, who led his army from the front. He was a king, chosen by God as a child, who had lived in a palace as a boy and died at the head of a dynasty which was to lead all the way to Jesus.
David knew God. He knew God intimately as One whom he could address as the Almighty, as his Shepherd and as his friend. He knew God as the One who confronted Him, helped him, guided him and loved him. David knew the abundance and wonder of the real life of the Spirit.
The secret, says Gordon MacDonald, is to be found in time spent with God. He specifically highlights our need for a safe place, still times and special friends. As I was reflecting on this in preparation for the sermon on the Psalms today, I realised that these are exactly the things which have been taken from us in our modern age. The psalmists knew them well, especially David the Shepherd. Returning at night with the flocks, the shepherds would see them safe in a cave shelter and then sit together, as special friends to reminisce on the day, to marvel at the stars and to just be quiet together before the fire. We don’t have much of that anymore.
But we can, with just a little effort. We will be setting up a Prayer Room here at the church to run from August 22 to 30. These kind of Prayer Rooms were initiated by the 24-7 Prayer Movement which started in England in 1999 and which is rapidly bringing new spiritual energy to tired Christ Followers and a new excitement to people who had already rejected Christianity. It is really not anything new though; just a rediscovery of ancient practices which are still relevant in our modern world.
People have discovered that spending just one hour alone with God is a dramatic life-changing experience. A still time in a safe place with a special friend. There is no “training” or “teaching” or “formula”. There is no expectation, or performance required. This is God changing us from within. I will tell more about it this morning and over the next few weeks. I believe that with some basic Doctrine (Alpha), the Bible (E100 Challenge) and Prayer (24-7 Prayer Room) we build a foundation for the abundant Kingdom life which Jesus has promised to those who follow Him. He said, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life” and He invites us to follow Him into the life which is worthy of the Lord.
God bless and Amen