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Prayer in Solitude: A Poem on Praying

Janis is a mental health professional in private practice in Washington, DC. She holds a Master's degree in counseling psychology.

Prayer can happen anywhere, even in the comfort of a bath.

Prayer can happen anywhere, even in the comfort of a bath.

"Prayer is such an intimate act, a place of vulnerability. It is, hopefully, when we are our least guarded, our most honest selves. And this is good, of course; this is as it ought to be. When we come to God, we certainly want to come as honestly and as openly as we can; we want to be our truest selves before him. Prayer lets us be in a place of need."

- John Eldredge

A New Way of Praying

Over the past year of living in a global pandemic, much of humanity was forced to exist in a mostly indoor world, away from regular contact with the outdoor world. In our fear of COVID-19, we had to find ways to live our lives inside of our homes and make the best of the solitude. The comforts we had come to know in our daily routines has been stripped away, leaving us void of our normal way of life.

Shortly after the official shutdown began in our country, I penned an article about our search for meaning in the midst of a devastating pandemic. From notes taken after listening to a church sermon, I wrote about altering our perceptions of how we see, what we've learned, and what we can appreciate through the lens of the tragedy and loss. We were given an opportunity to observe harsh realities with new eyes of gratitude, grief, deepened introspection, and self-awareness. What resonated for me most with this exercise of self-examination was the ability to be still long enough to see things I missed or had taken for granted.

During this extended period of spending most of my time at home, I discovered that taking bubble baths opened a door into a divine spiritual practice. The pandemic provided me the unexpected gift of having more time to relax and pray, without having to rush, while soaking in the tub. The following poem is an expression of that experience, marking a year in prayerful solitude.

Naked Prayer

I retreat to my sacred place

Stripped down to my bare soul

Waiting for God's grace

Asking for his hand

I lay submerged

Like a baby in womb

Surrounded by warmth

Sinking into sweet solitude

Bare skin, no secrets to hide

As God's light enters, he listens

He hears my pleas

For healing mercies

I come just as I am

Each breath, a cleansing prayer

Each prayer, a cleansing breath

To purify my naked temple

Like a refreshing spring

Water smooths pebble surfaces

Residual drains away, leaving me

Renewed in body, mind and spirit

JLE 2021

A woman wades in the ocean's vast water as she contemplates.

A woman wades in the ocean's vast water as she contemplates.

"Prayer, if it is real, is an acknowledgment of our finitude, our need, our openness to be changed, our readiness to be surprised, yes, astonished by the 'beams of love.'"

-Douglas V. Steere

Places We Pray

More on Prayer and Openness

© 2021 Janis Leslie Evans

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