“Morning by morning, O Lord, you hear my voice”
Solitude and Private Alters
(Please read Psalm 19:14)
In these days of increasing mobility, when families may move far and wide with their jobs or seeking better jobs, it seems evident that we still have some of the nomadic inclination of our ancestors. And when Christians move to a new place, they seek out a place of worship – not unlike patriarchs in the Old Testament who pitched a tent and built an altar on arriving at a new location.
But a centralized “altar” is not enough. We need to spend time in more private settings as well, in devout meditation and communication with the Lord. Family altars can serve the purpose very well when the children are young, to try to instill a lifelong habit of setting aside time for regular, private worship. But we also need some solitude for that purpose. Your altar may be in some private part of the house, or any part of the house while the other occupants are asleep or away, or near a quiet stream if you are that fortunate – or somewhere else.
Jesus spoke of praying in a “closet” or an “inner room,” which should provide ample privacy. He often went alone to some solitary spot to pray, and had a custom of going to the Mount of Olives to pray when he was in that vicinity. Like him, we can have movable altars; they can even go with us on vacation, to the workplace and on business trips.
A private altar is a place to acknowledge sins and failures and seek forgiveness and guidance, a place to find renewal continually. May God bless you at your private altar.