When the von Trapp family reached the USA in 1939, they had no home. They toured the country in concerts saving money to buy land. They liked Vermont because it was much like their former homeland of Austria. (One of the delights of our lives was meeting a Jewish lady from Austria. She said to us, “Maria von Trapp looked nothing like Julie Andrews.)
While their father was away booking dates for a tour, the family stayed in a Vermont inn. The children turned a broom closet into a chapel where they took turns praying around the clock for three days. They couldn’t afford any of the houses or farms they had seen. When their father returned, he said a farmer had decided to sell his land. The family went to view the land and not only did they like what they saw, they heard God saying that this was the place. That was 1943.
After a fire destroyed that 27 room home, the family built the 96-room Von Trapp Family Lodge on 2500 acres in Stowe, Vermont which the family still operates.
A gathering of top-ranking international business and educators hold an annual workshop at the Lodge. The event planner says,
“We need to rediscover the importance of sacred space, those places that are rich in life energy and potential for connection—like the site in Northern Vermont.”
When the workshop event planner told the von Trapp daughter, also named Maria, that the beauty and tranquility of the land moved people deeply, she didn’t seem surprised but simply said, “When we bought the land, we blessed it. We dedicated it to serve God. People feel that.”
That story impacted me! That’s the way it is supposed to work! Eight children ages three to twenty-five rotating their praying one hour at a time and something shifted in the spirit realm that was still being experienced seventy-five years later—and is presumably being experienced to this day.
What went on in that broom closet?
The movie “War Room” is wrapped around prayer closets and a real-life prayer warrior who in fact is the mother of a well-known gospel pianist and record producer. What goes on in her prayer closet?
I have been on a hunt during the past couple of months. What is the process that produces multi-generational anointing such as the Von Trapp Family Lodge? It is larger than talking God into providing a building or land or some other provision. Prayer is not trying to overcome God’s reluctance, but laying ahold of His plan so we can join Him in the emerging future or the future He desires to bring forth and to use us as co-laborers and co-creators.
Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteous…” (Matthew 6:33)
It seems to me—the first step is to quiet the voices. When Kona focuses on a squirrel or some prey she is intent on chasing, it is as if she cannot hear us. It is true—her hearing shuts down so she can focus on the chase.
Seeking first is quieting the voices clamoring for our attention and those voices that have an agenda. The voice that whispers words that make you conclude you are less than…must be throttled before you can hear and believe when God speaks your name.
The process has been called “centering” or “quieting,” and other things. “Wait upon the Lord,” is more than tapping your foot waiting for the Lord to get at it. Waiting’s first meaning is to silent the voices. Shutting down the running narrative and the inner critic and the collection of voices who have an opinion about your performance, or worth.
This is the first step in finding purpose, meaning of vision or direction about God’s instruction for business decisions or how to walk yourself out of a dark valley.
I’m writing a chapter for “Seizin’ Your Season—An Inner Net for Vision Catchers.” I will share what I’m learning. Start here: Where would the “sacred place” be? Prayer closet? If you were to find Joshua’s “standing on holy ground” in your world, where is it?
©2015 D. Dean Benton—writer & wonderer