by Annette Bridges. © 2006. All rights reserved.
I love to pray sitting by the seashore. I have sat for hours enraptured by the vastness and infinity of the broad view. It’s something about the wideness of the sea and the constancy of the rolling waves that makes my soul sigh in contentment and quiets my mind in peaceful reflection.
I’ve often thought, “How can I take this peaceful feeling home with me? How can I go back home and find freedom from the stress of life’s chores and responsibilities?”
I’ve learned to take Christ Jesus’ words, “Enter into thy closet,” to heart.
In giving helpful instruction on how to pray, Jesus said, “When thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.”
With each breath I take, I feel wrapped in God’s love.
The seashore is a bit like my “closet.” I shut my eyes, not thinking about any troubles, fears or concerns. With each breath I take, I feel wrapped in God’s love. I hear the thunderous roar of waves crashing, and at the same time I feel the order and rhythmic peaceful pattern of the waves rolling in.
- This reminds me of a stanza from a poem written by Mary Baker Eddy:
And o’er earth’s troubled, angry sea
I see Christ walk
And come to me, and tenderly
I feel as if Christ Jesus has spoken to me and proclaimed peace. It’s as if a thought whispers to me, You are safe. You are not alone. You are whole. All is well. And when I open my eyes the problem, fear or concern that had been troubling me now seems very small, like a single grain of sand under my feet. There is clarity and there is calm.
But over the years, I’ve found the healing power of this prayer doesn’t require sitting by the sea. I can follow Christ Jesus’ prayer instructions wherever I am. And I have—whether I am working at my desk, sitting in a hospital waiting area, standing in line at the grocery store, or stuck in my car in a traffic jam. I enter into my closet, that quiet realm in thought where I know God’s presence and love is with me and is as constant as the rolling waves and as infinite as the inexhaustible waters of the sea. I talk with God and hear the healing words I need in that moment. Again and again, there is clarity, there is calm, there is peace.
I found I had the ideas I needed.
Sometimes I have hours to spend in my prayer closet. Other times I have only moments. I recall one time sitting at my desk working on an assignment deadline, feeling pressured and rattled about the deadline. In fact, the project slowed to a standstill the more I looked at the clock. I didn’t have hours, but I took a moment to enter into my prayer closet at that moment of frustration. The pressure completely disappeared and was replaced with calm inspiration. I found I had the ideas I needed to complete the project on schedule. These heartfelt, often momentary prayers are fail-proof.
Following Christ Jesus’ insightful prayer guidelines puts my troubles on pause. I’m reminded that Love, the Love that is God, is always with me—and not just by the seashore. With a calm thought, I’m able to find my peace again.