Written By: Kelly O’Dell Stanley
My friend Cindy and I stepped inside the empty chapel, lowering our voices as we did so. A wooden structure with lots of windows, this humble building perched on the lake. The empty room was decorated with hardwood floors and a view of trees and water. The only furniture: three benches, a chair and a desk. And on the desk, two leather journals.
I opened one, and tears blurred my vision. People who came here before me wrote their prayers on these pages. There was both childish handwriting and mature penmanship. Neat and sloppy. Short and long. Careful and scrawled.
But all were heartfelt.
Some penned cries to God to please hear them. One woman promised to forgive her husband. Others begged God to make Himself known. Some entries were signed “your prodigal son.” People talked of suicide, of loss, of loneliness. One teen wrote, “I’ve put off the old, but when will the new come?”
Desperation and gratitude filled the pages. A depth of feeling I could barely process, except by releasing a steady stream of tears.
I was standing on holy ground. This was a place where people met God.
And our God is a God who can handle all of these needs. Who loves each of those people and hears their cries.
Sanctified, holy ground.
Overwhelmed with His presence.
Bowed under the weight of God’s holiness.
I’ve never seen anything more beautiful. I flipped through the pages. Cindy and I read sentences out loud to each other, and smiled, and cried, and laughed, and prayed.
What a God, to inspire such devotion.
To motivate such surrender.
To cherish the depths of such raw emotion.
To answer the needs of people who are tired of hiding, who are desperate for answers, who will risk everything to hear from their God.
That moment is seared into my brain—really, into my heart.
Bet you wish you could go there. Here’s the truth: you can. Anywhere you are, when you drop the barriers and just get real with God—when you stop pretending you’re okay, when you face how badly you need help—that is holy ground.
Those are prayers that move God’s heart.
Those are words that He hears. Needs that He responds to.
Sometimes God has to shout to get our attention.
But other times—in these quiet moments, in these holy, sanctified times—God whispers.
He whispers just to you. Words for your ears only. Salve designed to heal your particular heart.
He whispers life, and hope, and light.
He whispers, “Thank you, my child, for coming home.”