by Phillip M. Way
Verse of the Day – Matthew 6:6
But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.
Daily Scripture Reading – Luke 12
Jesus uses that word again, the word “when.” I do hope you find time regularly to pray. To commune with God. Jesus expects it! And when we do pray He tells us how. And the how here is more than location. It is actually heart attitude or motive (seems to be a recurring theme, doesn’t it?).
God is not concerned with the outward traditions of men. He is concerned with our hearts! Why are we praying? What are we praying about? Are we listening? If we pray and do not involve God — we just talk! Then we really aren’t praying. We’re just talking! We have to understand that prayer involves, indeed is centered on, God.
When we pray we are to take the attitude of going to the most private place we can find, shutting everything out but God, and then commune — fellowship, relate, ask, tell, plead, praise! He is contrasting this to the hypocrites in the last verse who pray so that others can hear them. They worship self and pray for the benefit of men, not God! We instead are to shut the door on self righteousness. It’s not about us. It’s about Him!
We are to shut out as much as we can so that we can concentrate and be talking and listening! You know, we really do need to take prayer seriously, God has to humble Himself just to look into the day to day affairs of heaven — how much more must He condescend if He wants to commune with us? We must listen. “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10).
Jesus here, by the way, does not forbid praying in public. We are encouraged in Scripture to pray in public (1 Timothy 2:1-4). We are also to follow the example of men like Daniel. When Daniel was commanded not to pray he could have simply prayed in his room with the door and windows shut. He could have hidden his faith, right? He didn’t! He was bold in his faith and did not let evil men disrupt his time with God. Three times a day he would open his window wide and prayed on his balcony as he was accustomed. He did not do this for men, but because to fail to do this would be a change in his routine – a change made because of the fear of men!! (see Daniel 6:10-11).
The lesson here is the lesson of attitude. When God speaks to us or we speak to Him, it should be as though nothing else matters. Nothing else can get in the way or break that line of communication. Act as though we are behind closed doors, alone with Him. Pray in the secrecy of our hearts! And God who hears and participates in those prayers will reward us openly (1 Cor. 4:5) — He will answer our prayers for all to see. The glory then goes to Him who answers instead of him who prays. You see, the power is not in the prayer!! The power is in Him with Whom we talk!
It was said years ago by an early church father that people were getting accustomed to going into their rooms, shutting the door, and then praying so loudly that others down the street could hear every word! Don’t think that because we are in a room and praying that that is all God expects. He expects our heart to be right and our motive to be a desire for fellowship and a need and dependence on Him for all we need. Today, don’t worry about how and when to pray. Just pray throughout the day. And focus. Many times in my prayer life the only distraction I need is a wandering mind. Focus on Him. Talk with Him. He wants to talk to you today — be still. Shut the door on self and learn to listen today!
Bible Reading For Further Study
Recommended Songs for Worship