I did sleep in two hours after my alarm rang, so that was initially a failure, but after that, things started looking up.
I went out on a walk and picked a new route. I was on a sidewalk that went by a lovely little stream, and I was enjoying the ducks and other little birds that punctuated the silence with their cries. Eventually, I came upon two massive trees. Someone's imagination had obviously taken wing with these trees before, because there were bits of rotten wood nailed to the side higher up, indicating that a tree house must have been here at one point. All the wood from the tree house was now rotting on the ground, having long since fallen down, but the trees still stood, grand and imposing, begging me by their very presence and largeness to try to climb them.
"I want to climb up there," I thought. "I want to go up and sit in those giant branches and be all alone, away from view. I want to pray from up there." In the first place, it's just really cool to sit in a tree, and in the second place, it would be a hidden, secluded spot.
The lowest branch was far above my head out of reach, and the various implements that were nailed to the tree were even higher. The girth of the tree was too large to try scaling it, and the bark didn't afford good enough finger and toe holds to try to just make it straight up the surface. But aha! There was a branch that drooped down almost to the ground, and I could begin at the end of it and work my way up.
I clambered up through the branches, enduring being poked and scratched and exerting a good deal of effort to attain a comfortable spot that was about as high up as I could get. I sat where the arrow is pointing in the picture below.
There was still a good deal of tree above me, but I was content with where I was. I looked around. No one who happened to walk by would notice me here. I was comfortable. I had attained my position.
But about 20 minutes later, I realized I still wasn't praying. I was looking around at the view, thinking about the tree, having a number of noisy random thoughts, and feebly attempting a prayer here and there. So I got down from the tree.
I walked off, thinking about what I had done. Why did I think being in a tree would help me to pray? It was like I was looking, seeking, hunting for the perfect place, a hidden place, where I could be all alone and experience God's presence and talk unimpeded with Him.
Then it dawned on me: That place was the Holy of Holies, not a tree or a special room or a walking route or a cozy hiding place. I needed to pray from the position of God's own temple. "How do I get into the Holy of Holies?" I asked myself? As if in answer, a song started playing in my head:
Come into the Holy of Holies
Enter by the blood of the Lamb.
I excitedly recognized that I already had Jesus's blood applied to my life, so I had everything I needed to enter the Holy of Holies. I recognized that I was in Christ--and those who are in Christ are "seated in heavenly places in Christ Jesus." So my spirit had access to the Holy of Holies! Here all this time I was trying to enter in the flesh. But my spirit was what had to pray to God--and it could get there.
From there my prayer just took off. I prayed from the position of one of God's adopted children, allowed to call Him "Abba Father," and having "boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus" (Heb. 10:19). Suddenly prayer was possible. God wasn't remote like I had felt Him to be--I was able to "draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith" (Heb. 10:22). All these verses started clicking into place in my mind, and I felt so free, so accepted, and so enabled by God. It was a beautiful and glorious rest of the walk, as I delighted in being in His presence.
Praise God for His wonderful work!
To Be Continued...