If meditation can be done in the nude I think we can assume we might as well stay and pray in the nude. The two differ in this: meditation is about listening to God; prayer is about communicating with God. One is about listening; the other is about talking. One other way I have heard it explained is that meditation and petition are the two sides of prayer.
Prayer is described in the Bible much like a subject in a kingdom coming into the throne room of the king and petitioning the king for favor and in return listening to what the king will grant and what he expects that subject to do if the king is going to grant that favor. In a very real way this is true of us and God. Prayer should not be something we are completely comfortable with in the sense of who we are coming before to ask a favor. This is God Almighty we are talking about not some two-bit robber baron. The issue is what qualities should the petitioner have when making his petition.
Before I get into those qualities, I want to make my case for the home prayer and meditation room. Jesus’ instruction to go into one’s closet and pray to the heavenly Father in secret in the Sermon on the Mount is something more Christian’s should take seriously. The one thing I see a lot of families and homes doing more of is setting a side a room for spiritual things. I encourage everyone to do this because it is one of the mistakes I made in not doing it when my children were growing up. Having a place set aside to meditate, pray, study and worship (a sort of family chapel) would be a great asset to many homes. Hey, we make sure we have our family rooms and entertainment rooms, for those of a more spiritual frame of mind why not a spiritual room or chapel. The advantages of this for a person who wanted a more naked approach to the spiritual disciples would be tremendous, especially if you have a house hold that might be divided on this issue. There is nothing stopping a person from closing the prayer room door, locking it and stripping down to meditate, prayer, worship or even read and study. If a prayer room is not a possibility, setting aside a space in another room might be good. For naked practitioners the bedroom might work well to set a corner aside to engage in spiritual activities as we are already used to dressing and undressing in our bedrooms. I am currently making some of these changes having discovered the importance of this, but I cannot stress that I am now seeing this as something very important.
The spiritual qualities of a person who prays are far more important than the wording of the prayer or doing things in the right order. James points to Elijah as a man just like us but because of his righteousness his prayers were answered. As I look at these qualities, my questions mainly center around how being naked can symbolize or enhance those qualities when we go to God in prayer. The analogy of the subject entering the king’s throne room will be used throughout to illustrate each point:
1) Humility – In a post I wrote a little while ago called Nudity, Modesty and Culture – Part 1 – Defining Modest I make the observation the Peter and Paul’s words about modest dress actually deal with dumbing down dress from being flashing with gold and jewels to something more modest. One thing I did not say then but I will say now is that the logical conclusion of this dumbing down of dress is to be naked. Nakedness at the time would have indicated the humble slave class. One of the titles the New Testament writers use of themselves and their fellow believers is ‘bond slaves of God. They are slaves by choice to God. Nudity should be a humbling experience. It is about the stripping off of status to the point of having no status. Oh, there might be those proud of their bodies and maybe they have worked hard to make a good-looking body, but in the presence of God there should still be that sense of vulnerability that requires us to move to intimacy with our creator. You may be comfortable being naked with God and that is Ok, but if you ever lose your humility you will start to lose that comfort level because you are no longer acknowledging your vulnerability before Him. In a sense to pray naked is to come into the throne of God naked and bow down and ask God for what you desire. The act of being naked should temper those desires to something a little more in line with God’s desires as you would be acknowledging your bond slave status to Him. His desires become more important to you than your own and this is evident in how you are approaching Him. You are the servant; He is the Master.
2) Persistence – “Ask and Keep on Asking…” Jesus words with the full Greek meaning indicate a persistence that needs to be present in prayer. Persistence is actually as form of humility. Pride causes us to believe that we should just get right in and see the king because were so important and God should just give us what we want. The current Word of Faith ‘blab it and grab it’ crowd in Christianity completely misses this point which is why they are a scam and not a legitimate voice for understanding prayer. Persistence means we wait until we are called for and answered. In the meantime we stay in God’s presence (meditation). It was actually a time of naked meditation and prayer that revealed this to me. I am the naked bond slave of Christ, he will hear me when he thinks I have proven myself ready to be heard by being patiently persistent in listening for his voice to hear “Come, make your request to be known to Me, your God and Master.” Then I go boldly into his throne room, not because I am anything but because Christ has called and I must answer, and ask for what I need. Hopefully what I need is in line with the purposes of God and not to spend it on my own pleasures. I find with this new understanding that I sit and ‘just be’ a lot more in prayer and talk a lot less. I am here to serve God, not for Him to serve me and to be persistent acknowledges His sovereignty to decided when, where and how he will answer my prayer. I am now convinced that the reason most people do not receive answers to prayer is they are too busy talking and not spending enough time listening for the answer and being patient while they wait. If you strip naked in your prayer closet and tell God your going to stay their till he answers your prayer, be prepared to back that up by staying there until he answers your prayer.
3) Righteousness – James says this in chapter 5 of his book but it bears repeating that a person who is a sinner will not receive many answers to prayer. They might get a response to genuine repentance but not much else. In relationship to nudity, the fact that you do spiritual disciplines in the nude could become a source of pride or even drawing attention to self. Based on Jesus’ instructions in Matthew 6, all spiritual disciplines should have and aspect of secrecy before God when you are doing them. Pray in your closet, give not knowing what the right and left hand are doing, fast but don’t appear to be fasting. All of these are done in secret so the heavenly Father will reward us openly. Nudity as a spiritual discipline should also have that quality. It should not be done for show or to draw attention to the yourself: “Look at me, I pray naked so I am more spiritual than you.” Nudity by itself can have this problem if you don’t have the right attitude about it. Being a nudist in rebellion or pride will never win points with God. Being a nudist because it draws you back to a time when it was Man and Woman naked and unashamed before God because they were humble and vulnerable before God is the righteous goal. Nudity like anything else can be used for good or evil. It is your responsibility to make sure you do not use it for sin or evil or through your nakedness cause a brother or sister to stumble. The servant who enters the king’s presence and hasn’t done what was expected of him should not expect the king to grant his requests. A good example of this is found in Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25. For those that think of terms of family of a child going to their father, the lesson still applies as Jesus stated in the Parable of the Two Sons (Matthew 21: 28-32). You still have to do the will of your Father to get both his favor and blessing.
Nudity is starting to show itself as a spiritual discipline. What its ultimate place with the rest of the spiritual disciplines is remains to be seen. Perhaps we will get a little farther in understanding this issue with the next discipline.
Next: Naked Worship