Amidst predictions of the end of the world during London’s plague of 1665, puritan Thomas Brooks elevated the closet as a place to find God. In his book The Privy Key of Heaven he advocates the practice of closet prayer as “the gate of heaven, a key to let us into paradise”.
Our days most often begin and end in the closet. It's a library of us, in a sense. Just as books try to contain thoughts, our collections of tops, bottoms, hats and shoes attempt to define the physical parameters within which we live. And the collage in our closets reveals a complex story of our connectedness to life, to ourselves, and to each other.
But has the fabric of our lives actually become overwhelmed with connectedness? With our concurrent access to the ancient and futuristic, local and global, present and omnipresent, we are blanketed with more layers of connection than ever before.
Is there a golden thread in Thomas Brook's concept of closet prayer, then, that weaves its way into the here and now? Do we need space for a sacred sanctuary in the noise of these uncertain times? Should we unlock the secret stories and prayers that are on the shelves or will they remain forever unopened?
"But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet,
and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret;
and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly."
Matthew 6:6 KJV