**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
The past two posts we have talked about ‘a certain place’ to pray. Jesus went habitually to a certain place to pray and have a lengthy conversation with his Heavenly Father. He seemed to have chosen somewhere that He could be sure to have complete concentration on the task.
Today’s verse talks about those that go into a closet to pray. A special place away from not only noise and interruptions, but also away from public praise and recognition for one’s spirituality.
Often Jesus Christ went out somewhere in nature to converse with the Father. But this verse talks about a man-made place, something constructed and useful for the home that probably had a second use as the family prayer closet. Perhaps everyone was advised to not disturb any family member that occupied the dedicated room.
This is a reinforcement to the idea we saw from Luke 11 that prayer is a habit or discipline, a normal and expected practice for one who professes faith in the Savior. Prayer should be considered as essential as eating our meals or getting our sleep.
It was rare to find Jesus in lengthy prayer in public. More often the Bible tells us that He was more inclined to pray in private, without anyone looking over his shoulder. The prayer closet confirms this same perspective.
Prayer is not to be a public ritual that feigns holiness or superiority over others. It is not to be used to prove our credibility as a Christian. It should be a heartfelt, sincere practice that demonstrates our desire to have an ongoing conversation with The Creator of the Universe, sharing our daily concerns, burdens and trials with him and patiently listening for his response.
Do you have some sort of prayer closet? How does your family keep it as a dedicated place of prayer?
So we have learned two main things so far about prayer….
It should be on purpose, in a place where we can concentrate and speak sincerely and listen with attentiveness.
And it shouldn’t be used for personal glory, popularity, self exultation or to appear holier than anyone else.
Do you see something more in these two passages from the gospels of Luke and Matthew?