Imagine if we had to bottle up all of our prayers only to release them on Sundays in the chapel.
I often thank God for the principle and gift of prayer. What a beautiful gift – direct communication straight to the source. With all the distractions in our lives it is so important to find a place where we can be honest with Him.
A channel that directly tunes into Him.
Your channel of secret prayer can take place in a variety of places in your own wilderness. A few years ago I had to find one at the bottom of the ocean.
A desperate prayer. No words able to be spoken – just my heart to His – at the bottom of the ocean.
It was a fabulous dive trip. My husband, Kevin, and I traveled to the other side of the world with a group of friends. Destination: Micronesia.
We went to dive World War II wrecks which were sunk in battle and now lay on the bottom of the ocean. I was nervous about the adventure, but I had over 100 dives under my belt and felt capable and experienced enough.
One particular dive during the middle of the week is seared forever in my memory.
We had a guide willing to take us down deep into the belly of a ship into the engine room. Only the more experienced were invited. My husband, Kevin, and I and about six others eagerly signed up. Just before sunset we jumped from the dive boat into the water below. We dropped down to the surface of the wreck at about 80 feet.
Through a small hole we entered the lower level of the ship.
Down we went through tight dark hallways. Deeper and darker. We each carried our own flashlights which illuminated only the immediate area in front of us.
We had turned and twisted so many times that I had no idea where I was. I wondered if Kevin knew. He looked back once and flashed the hand signal for, “Are you okay?” I checked my computer to see how much air I had left at this depth. All good. I flashed the okay sign back at him.
More rooms. The kitchen. Sleeping quarters. It was fascinating and somber to tour this sunken graveyard.
I began to wonder how much longer. I was checking my computer more often now.
Then we took a turn. This was the final plunge deep down to the engine room. Each of us slowly and carefully moved our bodies in a head down position as we swam down a long spiral staircase toward the final destination.
Eight bodies in a line and upside down in very close quarters.
And then the lights dimmed and everything stopped.
Our guide’s flashlight had died. He was in complete darkness and couldn’t see to lead us. He pulled out his backup flashlight from a pocket. Dead. In addition, the front diver's regulator hose had twisted around a piece of metal. She was stuck.
Those of us in the back and the middle of the group couldn’t see what was happening.
All we knew is that we were hanging upside down in the dark for a very long time. If any one of us panicked it could be disastrous for all of us. I checked my computer. Ten minutes of air left at this depth.
I found my channel. My heart to His.
“Heavenly Father please help me to stay calm. Please help all of us to stay calm. Help … “
Immediately the thought came. Cut your breathing down in half.
I concentrated on breathing at half the normal rate to conserve what little air I had left. I hoped that Kevin was doing the same. It was so tight that I couldn’t even turn to look at him.
But the panic never came. I was at peace. I was not alone.
Upside down in the bottom of a ship at the bottom of the ocean I knew that God knew exactly where I was.
My secret place. My wilderness.
Eventually another diver up front had been able to get a backup flashlight to the dive master who was leading. The front diver's hose was freed. What was several minutes had felt like hours and finally we could move forward.
“Thank you, God.” Prayers of gratitude flew up my channel as we found our way out of the shipwreck and back to the dive boat in safety.
What a gift. We are not alone.
No matter where we find ourselves, we can always reach out and be heard.
The significance of this channel of secret prayer?
Essential. Crucial. Life-saving.