Prayer sensitizes us to the true meaning of worship. The person who spends time within the divine circle of companionship never enters the hour of worship without being sensitive to what can occur there.
Several years ago I was preaching in a small Tennessee church. From the minute I entered the sanctuary, I felt a spirit there I hadn't felt in many sanctuaries. The prayers, the music, and even the silences were extraordinary. I feel sure that I preached over my head—that my own spirit was measurably quickened and deepened by the unusual sense of worship prevailing in the minister and the congregation.
Later, I commented about this to two laymen.
"I hope you know," I said, "what a rare and exhilarating kind of worship you enjoy in this church."
They smiled knowingly at one another. "Have you seen The Cloisters?" one asked. I wasn't sure what they were referring to—surely not the assemblage of monastery remains brought to New York by John D. Rockefeller, Jr.
"The shed up in ...1