Naked Before God and Spiritual Discipline

Have you ever heard someone say something like… “This morning while I was in the shower it came to me that…”? Maybe you’ve had something like that happen yourself; I know I have.

I wonder why that is…

Maybe things like that happen sometimes because we are in a safe and private environment without outside distractions. Maybe things like that happen because we are relaxed, enjoying one of life’s little luxuries, enjoying the sensation of the warmth of the water on our skin as we put the cares of life aside for a few minutes; I’m not really sure, but it sometimes happens that in the midst of this time alone, ideas seem to come out of nowhere.

I recall vividly a time about 20 years ago when I realized that I was praying in the shower; I had started do so without being entirely conscious of it, and then I sort of “woke up” to the fact, and I was shocked at my own lack of reverence, and scolded myself for it: “Oh Lord, I’m sorry, please forgive me for praying while naked!”

That’s when it hit me that I still was… Yikes!

It really bothered me; even more so when it occurred to me that I had probably prayed in the shower many times without noticing my “offense” to God. As it turned out, that was a good thing, for it was the catalyst for my study of this subject. I can’t help chuckling now at my consternation at the thought of studying to figure out just how much trouble I had inadvertently gotten myself into.

As I’ve mentioned previously in these posts, nakedness is as much a state of mind as it is a state of being, and in the context of privacy and safety, it can be very relaxing. Not surprisingly, many over the centuries have found it useful as a spiritual discipline. There is something that takes place when we set aside our protective coverings in God’s presence; I’m thinking this is because we have taken away the last vestiges of separation between us and God in our own minds, bringing about a more tangible form of intimacy and transparency that is difficult to express or quantify.  One thing is clear though, and that is that often physical nakedness is just as much a state of mind as it is a state of being. I realize that some, who read this might bristle at the very suggestion. Yet if this is what you’re thinking, ask yourself a question: Why?

If we believe the Bible when it tells us that God created us, and that humanity is the pinnacle of His entire Creation, and that He created us in His own image, body, soul and spirit, then why would we think He would be put off by our physical bodies? Why would we be ashamed in his presence? If He was inclined to be put off by us, would He be more likely to be put off by our nakedness or by our covering our bodies with the fashions of this world?

Now remember, we’re talking about being in privacy and safety, not in the local shopping mall…

Pastor Ed Raby, Sr. has written a series of posts on nakedness as a spiritual discipline, and while he approaches the subject a bit differently than I do, I would suggest that for anyone who is interested or curious about the subject, his thoughts are worth checking out on his blog All Things Rabyd. His index for this series can be found here.

I realize that for some this suggestion may not be for everyone, which is true of most of the classical spiritual disciplines, for God relates to each of us where we are, not at some arbitrary point. Yet I am confident that for many, it would be a worthwhile practice from time-to-time, just as fasting is a worthwhile practice for many at various times.

In our next discussion on this topic, we’ll move into the area of naked before God and others… but don’t freak; we will be strictly back in the metaphorical.

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About Don Merritt

A long time teacher and writer, Don hopes to share his varied life's experiences in a different way with a Christian perspective.
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10 Responses to Naked Before God and Spiritual Discipline

  1. pipermac5 says:

    I think that a big reason why we think that God might be offended by our au naturel body is because we don’t like what we see in the mirror. Rather than praising God with the Psalmist, we scream-out to God, “Why did YOU make me this way?”.

    13 For You formed my inward parts;
    You wove me in my mother’s womb.
    14 I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    Wonderful are Your works,
    And my soul knows it very well.
    15 My frame was not hidden from You,
    When I was made in secret,
    And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;
    16 Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
    And in Your book were all written
    The days that were ordained for me,
    When as yet there was not one of them. (Psalm 139:13-16)

    Because I spend 90+% of my time au naturel, all of my Bible reading, studying and writing are done au naturel, and that includes my devotional and prayer time right before I go to bed. Yes, I AM comfortable in my own skin, and even with all the wear and tear of a lifetime of living, my body is still the most amazing of God’s creations.

    Blessings!

    Steve

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  3. Steve B says:

    Lets see if I can grasp this. I believe that I have a guardian angel or 2 (yes I am weird) so every time I get undressed they kinda look away or if I have intimate moments with my wife they go out to dinner then return when they think we have finished. Toilet time they play ping pong outside. Lucky they don’t take photos I guess. :))

    Yes I am being kind of sarcastic (not at you though Don) just at the whole concept that Christians who believe that our God is omnipresence, Omnipotent and Omniscient somehow become blind when we take our clothes off. He sees everything good, bad and ugly and it really amazes me that people who supposedly know God are blind to this concept.

    Keep up the good work.

    • Don Merritt says:

      I must agree with you about them not taking photos Steve; that is a good thing!

      Your point is very well taken. We know that God sees all, we know that we can’t hide anything from God, and yet we often seem to think we’re putting one over on Him anyway… It’s silly when you think of it like that!

      And of course that’s the whole point of these posts.

      Thanks again for your comments!

  4. Bette Cox says:

    When my kids were very little and we’d be playing hide and seek, they would put their hands across their eyes thinking if they couldn’t see me, I couldn’t see them! Adults seem to do that with the Lord, don’t they! I like praying in the shower because the world’s distractions are shut out, even the water sounds block out other noises. (Unless I don’t close the door tight enough and find a kitty or two in the shower with me – for some odd reason they love water!) Excellent post, Don. Thank you!

  5. balaam says:

    I agree, to a point, but the shower does not last nearly long enough.

    Something I learned in a family full of children is that the best way to get the solitude needed to meditate on scripture is to run a bath, Minimum 40 minutes without interruption, bliss.

    I still do this, even though solitude is now easier.

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