For three nights on Sabbatical I stayed in The Hermitage (a small, one room hut) with a fan and a composting toilet! The facility is The Oratory of the Little Way, located north of New Milford along the Housatonic River. They have a main retreat house and the remote cottage in the woods. The caretakers and spiritual directors are the Rev. Alex and Alice McCullough. They were wonderful, and always available for conversation and prayer.
Upon my arrival, Alice took me down a path into the woods to the Hermitage, saying, “We do get bear back here; haven’t seen one in a while, but you should be OK. And I took the dust buster and got all the spiders; you are all set!” The first night I thought for sure there were spiders crawling all over the bed and me; I only saw a few!!
It was hot and humid over the four days, but God met me there in a powerful way. I spent most of my mornings and afternoons in the hut reading, journaling and praying. The first morning I went to the big house for coffee and met a young man from Zimbabwe who was visiting with Alex. His name is Thabani, which means “be happy.” Alex was teaching him about the gifts of the Spirit and prayer – so I joined the circle.
In Luke 11 the disciples asked how to pray. Jesus then gave them and us the Lord’s Prayer. Jesus then explained that they should keep on asking, seeking, and knocking. Luke’s passage ends with, “It is the Lord’s desire to give the Holy Spirit and all good gifts to anyone who asks.”
Alex gave a helpful illustration. He said back at the turn of the 20th century, the Japanese had aircraft carriers and the U.S. Navy had none. So, we started building carriers and testing. The runways were short and the flight training was tough for the pilots; many crashed into the sea. The solution was to construct catapults, to launch the planes at higher speeds. This was effective!
Alex explained that in the same way our prayer life is meant to launch us into the fullness of the Holy Spirit. So, keep asking, seeking, and knocking and God will fill us with the Holy Spirit, along with giving us spiritual gifts. I took this to heart and entered into a time of prayer and surrender that night in the sweltering hut. I continue to do so.
I wrote in my journal the next day, “It was a long hot night, with huge thunderstorms around midnight. . . much prayer of surrender – seeking, asking, and knocking. I believe God touched me and filled me as I poured out my soul to Him in prayer.”
Let us keep on asking, seeking, and knocking daily; and be filled with all the fullness of the Holy Spirit, always using the gifts given to us!
In Christ, Pastor Tim