Go Into Your Room, Shut the Door, and Pray 08-18-2016

Silent prayer begins with Jesus. In Matthew 6:6 Jesus says “Go into your room, shut the door, and pray.” In Jesus’ day homes were simple, usually consisting of two rooms, with no closets or closet doors. The two main rooms of the house were usually bustling with the activities of a large family. So, in Matthew 6:6 Jesus isn’t referring to an actual room with an actual door we shut.

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“Go into your room, shut the door, and pray” is a metaphor about closing the doors of the senses (not engaging senses of smell, touch, sight, hearing, or taste). Jesus speaks of closing the door to all sense activity including thoughts and imagination, to wait for God who is beyond thoughts, words, and emotions. This interpretation of Matthew 6:6, passed down through generations of mystics, is centering prayer’s scriptural basis. In Matthew 6:6 Jesus gives basic instruction on prayer, which he invariably elaborated to his disciples. We wish we knew what the elaborations were. The Gospel of Thomas gives us clues. Other scriptures say Jesus “prayed all night” or “retreated to a lonely place to pray.” (Mark 1:45b; Mark 6:31, 46; Luke 5:16).

 

David Frenette’s book The Path of Centering Prayer reenergized the Centering Prayer tradition with its fresh insights and teachings.  Centering Prayer Meditations: Effortless Contemplation to Deepen Your Experience of God is a wonderful companion audio program  created to be equally rewarding as a stand-alone guide – gives listeners an immersive resource to learn contemplative prayer, step by step and in the moment. With clarity and compassionate presence, Frenette explains the essential principles of this contemplative practice for both new and seasoned practitioners, and then guides us experientially through core prayers and meditations.

How do we know that Jesus was actually raised from the dead in bodily form? This course with Prof. N.T. Wright, The Resurrection of the Son of God, examines the extraordinary claim that Jesus of Nazareth was raised from the dead in a bodily fashion to appear in person to people after his cruel death, crucifixion, and entombment.

Check out Simply Good News by New Testament scholar and author N. T. Wright.  It is based upon his book Simply Good News.  You will instantly get into the heart of the idea of ‘good news’ as it was understood by the 1st Century writers of the New Testament.  It works well for group studies.   

Prepare to be immersed in the 1st Century A.D. context of the life, work, teachings, and actions of Jesus.  Check out Simply Jesus by N. T. Wright. Enjoy an article Rich wrote about one of the lectures on the Beatitudes.

Check out Rich’s review of Christian Prayer Methods by Dr. Philip St. Romain.