The bare necessities
This is not one of those titles like The Naked Chef, which has nothing to do with nudity, this is about actual but naked bareness.
I find it easier to pray in the nude.
I am not talking about in church, I am not talking about turning up at Holy Trinity Church, Huddersfield at 10.45 in the buff. Even if I was wearing my sweetest smile, and only that, it may be distracting to other people’s attitude of worship. I would never want to do that.
History of nudity in church
There is a history of nudity in church. Not recent, but if you go back far enough there is record that baptisms used to be performed in the nude. There were baptismal gowns, but they were symbolic and were put on afterwards. Baptism symbolises death to the old life and being reborn into a new one. The baptism robe symbolizes being covered in the new life. Some Orthodox churches still baptise infants in the nude (that is the baby in the nude, not the priest), but adult naked baptism, as far as I know, has died out.
So there was once naked praying in church; I can see no theological reason why we can no longer do this, but because of cultural sensibilities I am not going to do that any time soon, if at all, neither am I going to say if asked to pray with someone say, “Ok, just wait for me to get my kit off.” No, this would cause to much of a stir if it happened on the train. I’ll just pray with you in whatever I am wearing at the time.
Why I pray in the buff
The image of a bath is deliberate. If it was of me, an overweight 63 year old man, most people would stop reading this blog immediately. My reasoning is aesthetics.
The history of me doing this goes back to having a full house. Three children running round meant there was very little chance of getting time to be quiet and meditate and pray. I found I could make the time to do this if I ran a bath of hot bubbly water, locked the bathroom door and got in for 30 to 40 minutes away from the chaos. Bath is where I communed with God.
Now the children are no longer children, all have grown up, marries and moved out. The lovely L and I are back to being a couple. Also I have retired, so I have time for quiet. But after years of practise in the bath means that naked before God is where I feel the most comfortable. It helps me to have no inhibitions before God and be just me. God already knows what I look like and is not going to be shocked at me unattired. I come in the way that God made the first humans, naked and unashamed.
I am not saying that you should pray naked. I am saying that you should find time to be with God where you can be open to him without barriers. Some people say they are closer to God in the open air. That is great for them, I’d be too scared of being seen to be able to do that.
What I am saying is find a way of being totally open and totally honest with God, and no matter how bizarre that would seem to other people, do it. God is longing to hear from you.