But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. Matthew 6:6
These words of Jesus have encouraged the tradition of a quiet time, the idea of a dedicated space, and even a recent movie. The prayer closet of the Bible was likely not a physical room in the house. That would have been extraordinary in that day. The Jewish reader would have understood it to be the prayer shawl. When the shawl, or tallit, was wrapped over the head, it made a tent like covering where you could escape the distractions around you. You would lift it over the head with your arms, “closing the door” over the face. Since the tallit was required apparel for the Jewish man, it was always available. You could enter your prayer closet any time, anywhere.
I’ve read the story of John Wesley’s mom who did something similar. She was a prayer warrior and would sit and lift her apron over her head and face to block out distractions. Her busy family (19 kids!) would know this was her prayer time and to leave her alone. Her ever-present apron became her prayer closet.
Some of our homes may have room for an appointed prayer closet, as in the movie, “War Room.” Or we may designate a specific time that we can break away from interruptions. I typically create space in the mornings sitting on my floor.
We can talk with God anywhere and are told to pray without ceasing. We are always in His presence. Just as a marriage relationship grows best when time alone together is protected, as the bride of Christ we need focused time with God to grow (date night!).
I need to remember to keep a space, whether on my schedule, my environment or my heart to be with God one on One. My closet looks like a calendar, not a room or a shawl. But I still need to keep it free from distraction.
What does your closet look like?