By: Christian Moore, Pastor, EverGrace Church, HCPN Alumni
May 7, 2019
“But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly." - Matthew 6:6
"Do not have as your motive the desire to be known as a praying man. Get an inner chamber in which to pray where no one knows you are praying, shut the door, and talk to God in secret." - Oswald Chambers
When the disciples petitioned our Savior how “to pray” Jesus preempted his response by saying “when you pray, enter into your secluded place and when you have shut the door, pray.” Jesus addresses our location and separation.
The “closet” is our choice of a refuge, away from the commotion of people, work, family, duties, and the clamor of the daily grind. There is much to be gained in learning how to be still, “study to be quiet” the apostle tells the Thessalonian church - 1 Thessalonians 4:11. This is a lost art that has caused a diseased society, hyperactive in its mayhem.
The shutting of the door is significant in the Bible as we see many times. The prophet Elijah shut the door behind him and the dead boy before he prayed and the boy was revived. Jesus shut the door with three of his disciples before raising the lifeless child. A shut door connotes separation and concentration, without which there cannot be communion and an ensuing miracle.
Sadly, it can be that prayer is never fully enjoyed due to a lack of consecration. Where there is no shutting of the door in consecration, there can be no concentration. Consecration cannot begin where there are the ramblings of psychic noise that arise from a restless soul; a soul that has not met his God before a simple burning bush in the remote parts of his desert.
When in your prayer closet, with the door closed and in a position that is comfortable, open your Bible to a Psalm or a passage of Scripture that is meaningful to you, that stirs your heart and spirit. Read it slowly, quietly thinking about each word. Stop at a word that penetrates you and mull it over in your heart repeating it at times until it penetrates. This is what the Psalmist spoke of in Psalm 39:3 “My heart was hot within me, while I was musing the fire burned." If stray thoughts interrupt or urgent prayer requests come to mind, then don’t try to resolve them at the moment, the answer for them will come from the Spirit later, after you're quiet. Set them aside and return to your Scripture and reread it, getting back to your process of focus. This is true meditation - Joshua 1:8, 1 Timothy 4:15, not an abstract mantra of mindlessness, but rather a focus on a Word, a Scripture, that in itself is life breathing and quickening.
Lord, help me in obedience to study to be quiet like a learning child so that my soul could experience its place in surrender before your Presence.