“But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” -Matthew 6:6
This morning I got up really early for my quiet time with God which is becoming more of a custom for me these days. In the dark I reached into my drawer and grabbed a long-sleeve shirt to put on to go spend some time on the couch with Jesus. It may be kind of weird, but when I grabbed the shirt out of my drawer, it felt a bit different than my normal t-shirts. The fabric was a bit different and it went on a bit snugger than my other shirts. Yet I shrugged it off because it didn’t really matter. I thought, “Who cares what clothes I’m wearing for my quiet time with God.” Then I walked out in the dark, quiet of my living room and sat down next to a small lamp to light the pages of my Bible.
Opening up my Chronological Bible (that I’m reading through this year), I started to read. After some time feeding on the Word, I moved into my time of prayer for my Wednesday prayer list. Then as is the normal pattern for us, my wife Becky joined me to pray for our day. As Becky walked in, she stopped and looked at me a bit funny with a smile on her face. Then I looked down. We both busted out in laughter. I was wearing my Camo hunting shirt for my Quiet time! Because I couldn’t see in my drawer in the darkness, I had grabbed my Camo instead of a regular t-shirt. My wife is a bit of a clown so we had a good laugh and I told her that I intentionally put it on because I wanted “to hide” from everyone to guard my quiet time with Jesus. Laughter turned back to prayer and then we had a fantastic breakfast and devotion time with my children before school.
OUR FIRST CALL IS TO BE WITH JESUS
One of my personal ministry passions is to seek retreat in the outdoors with Jesus. We all need retreat. This is why Jesus regularly took his disciples away to spend time alone with them… in gardens, up on high mountains, down on a secluded beach, etc. He retreated regularly with them for a reason. Because they needed to be with Him. That was their first call:
Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him. He appointed twelve that they might be with him… -Mark 3:13-15
CAMO FOR YOUR QUIET TIMES?
The more I reflected on the serendipitous joke of putting on my Camo for my quiet time this morning… I realized there is another secret at work here. When I go hunting, I wear Camo to hide from the wild animals I’m hunting. Camo helps me get close enough to them to either take a photo (if I’m not hungry), or harvest them (If I could use a meal). In some ways, our morning quiet times in the darkness with Jesus are like hunting.
There once was a hermit named Macedonius who lived in the deserts of Egypt in the 4th century. One time, a man and his hunting party encountered Macedonius out in the desert. They were hunting for wild animals, but in meeting this hermit, they received a trophy of wisdom that came from the soul, not the skin of an animal. Here is the unforgettable story:
A certain captain of soldiers, who took a great delight in hunting, once came in search of wild animals to the desolate mountain where Macedonius dwelt. He was prepared for hunting, having brought with him men and dogs. As he went over the mountain he saw, far off a man. Being surprised that anyone should be in a place so desolate, he asked who it might be. One told him it was the hermit Macedonius. The captain, who was a pious man, leaped from his horse and ran to meet the hermit. When he came to him he asked. “What are you doing in such a barren place as this is?” The hermit in his turn asked, “And you? What have you come here to do?” The captain answered him, “I have come to hunt.” Then said Macedonius, “I also am a huntsman. I am hunting for my God. I yearn to capture him. My desire is to enjoy him. I shall not cease from this my hunting.”[i]
Jesus alluded to his disciples that they were going to really need to develop a habit and discipline of prayer in order to abide in his Spirit day by day. He used the simple, familiar analogy of a “closet” as a private place to get away, unseen and undisturbed, to commune with God. The point is not that we turn one of our closets into a home-style chapel. The point is to get away, undisturbed, and “unseen”. Just like putting on Camo that hides you in the forest, I wonder if it might help some of us to take this a little bit more to heart, and put on some “Camo” for our quiet time with God as well.
Whether that be just getting up early, or going off to a solitary place to pray like Jesus did regularly (Mark 1:35-38), I encourage you today to get a hunger to hunt for God. He wants to be found by us, but he is also patient and does not force his way into our soul.
I think I might wear Camo for my quiet times more often to remind me of the value of “closing the door and praying to My Father who is unseen.”