by M. Jolaine Szymkowiak

A Secret Place Found
M. Jolaine Szymkowiak
Psalm 63: 1-4, 7; Matthew 6:6

As I prayed one Sunday morning before getting ready to go to church, all of a sudden I felt myself taking several deep breaths as this prayer came to mind, ''My soul pants for Thee.''

The previous week had been exhausting, mentally and emotionally. There were problems with a computer breakdown, then glitches in the computer software. Additional overtime and miles traveled to a part time job also had taken their toll. Saturday had been one of much needed rest with no demands, yet upon waking on Sunday, the fatigue remained. A cloud of depression was descending at full speed, and my soul was crying out.

When I arrived for Sunday worship, the sanctuary hummed with friendly conversation; I felt because I couldn't break through the noise for prayer, my usual prayer time was forfeited. However as the service began, we sang many favorite choruses. My soul was lifted with ''I Have Decided to Follow Jesus,'' ''Give Thanks,'' and ''Glorify Thy Name.'' In those choruses, I lost myself in Him. My time of prayer had not been forfeited. My time of prayer and praise was full of the richness of God's presence.

It continued through the congregational readings of scripture and sermon. Upon reading Psalm 63, it was as if that breath for my soul was being supplied. My fatigue left me for a time and I was able to concentrate on the ''secret place'' of which my pastor was speaking (Matthew 6:1-6). Jesus was telling the crowd of listeners, his disciples in particular, about a secret place each person has within themselves to worship God, to pray and sing praises, to be quiet and listen. A secret place, to shut the door on emotions and things to be done, to remember God. In the center of this secret place God is there.

Thoughts kept going back to that early morning prayer time. How it seemed to have come from the depths of my soul, my secret place? The words to the chorus, ''As the doe panteth for t ...

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