We were five years into our appointment without a move in sight. Stagnant was the word of the day. I had given all there was to give: there was no more. I knew I needed to go deeper personally to be an effective Corp Officer to the people. At the same time, I had a personal hunger and thirst for a deeper, richer relationship with the Lord. God was calling me to Spiritual Disciplines through books and conferences I was engaged in. The discipline I began with was Mediation.
So, how do I begin? I began by setting a time. Well, that was easy. Everyone knows that Jesus prayed in the mornings. “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” Mark 1:35. Morning it is! Next, I had to decide how long I was going to spend in meditation. I read someplace that John Wesley spent four hours in prayer. Wow! I decided one hour would be a good start. Finally, I had to decide where to meditate. Exodus, Chapter 33, tells about Moses setting up the tent of meetings outside the camp. Every time Moses went out to the tent of meeting, the Israelites would stand and watch him enter. They knew He was meeting with the Lord. I wanted to be this type of example to the Corps people. So, I decided I would go at 9:00 a.m. every morning into my office, shut the door, and not open it for one hour.
Ready, set, go! I went into my office, sat down on the love seat, and opened my Bible to the Song of Solomon. Don’t ask me why I started with that book; let’s just say it was the one the Lord led me to. I would read until something struck me: a word, two words, a sentence. Then, I would stop reading to just mediate on that word or sentence that stood out to me. I would pray over it, contemplate it, speak it out loud, and pause to listen. This was wonderful! Heaven on earth! Then, the guilt came. I should be doing something. I should be out in the soup kitchen, the food pantry, somewhere helping someone. I thought must have went way beyond my set hour, so I got up to look at the clock on my desk. Twenty minutes had past. I settled back down in my loveseat remaining there until I finished my hour. However, I was never really able to focus after my twenty minutes of “Heaven on earth”.
This was wonderful! Heaven on earth!
I continued my practice for the remaining three years we were in that appointment. After a while, the hour slipped away without notice. My time grew to include not only meditation on His Word but also prayer, singing, silence, and listening. The relationship between the Lord and I grew spiritually deeper and spilled over into my ministry. The Corps people came to know that when I went into my office in the morning I was going to meet with God.