But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.
This verse has become a personal favorite of mine over the last few weeks.
If you look carefully, you’ll take note of the key ingredients that go into the recipe of a God encounter.
It’s important to note, before we go any further, that these words that came from the very One who is the image of the invisible God are not suggestive.
They are truth.
They are the door, the very gateway to finding God.
They light the way down the path of intimacy.
I love how the verse begins: “But you…”
In other words, don’t worry about anyone else.
Jesus is speaking to you.
He’s speaking to me.
It doesn’t matter whether or not your spouse, your co-worker, your children, your friend, or anyone else for that matter is praying.
Don’t get me wrong… of course we want others to develop and nurture their own relationship with God.
But this isn’t about having eyes for what others are or aren’t doing.
That is between them and God.
“But you…” is about you.
Jesus goes on to tell us that we should go into our inner room.
This is solitude.
Lovers always seek solitude.
They enjoy each other’s company and long for private moments.
In fact, we are all the byproduct of our alone time with God.
In other words, everything I enjoy with God is the result of the seed of private, relational advances.
When I draw near to Him, He draws near to me.
Second, we are instructed to close the door.
This is seclusion.
When we seclude ourselves in the place of solitude, we are shutting the door on distractions.
We are choosing not to bring anything along with us that could steal our gaze from the One we long to look at.
Finally, we are told to pray.
This is silence.
The quiet soul hears the voice of the One who is gentle and meek.
The soul that rages with the cares of the world has a difficult time hearing from the Lord.
This is why I strongly urge people to seek the Lord early in the morning.
The mercies of God are new each day and I personally find it easier to quiet myself in His presence before the distractions and to-do lists of the day encroach on my mind.
Truthfully, there is no substitute for getting alone, shutting out distractions, and quieting yourself before Him.
Personally, I love to talk to God throughout the day.
I talk to Him in the shower and in the sanctuary of my car.
But the truth is that I cannot get to know someone during such small windows of time.
Could you imagine if my and Nicole’s relationship was limited to the confines of running errands together?
The main reason why there is no substitute for what Jesus instructs us to do is contained in the following words: “…pray to your Father who is in secret…”
Where is the Father?
He’s in secret.
He is found in this place — the place of solitude, seclusion, and silence. He’s found by the heart that seeks Him when no one is looking.
I love this so much.
Our God is a God of secrecy.
This tells me that there is something He wants to have with you that He doesn’t want to have with anyone else.
I never have to ask God to come to the place that He already occupies.
If He is in secret, that means that every time you make it a point to get alone with Him, He is
already waiting for you.
The reward is Himself.
The reward is discovery.
And it’s this reward that motivates me to get alone, close the door, and sit before Him.
It’s in this place where my thoughts drift to Him and I think about who He is.
It’s in this place where I wait for the quiet of my soul to be filled with the honey from His
It’s in this place where I know I’ll encounter the One my heart longs to know.
My spiritual development is delayed when I fail to close the door.
The key to the Christian life is just this: it’s a life of daily retreat.
The more you become convinced of this one thing — that God rewards intimacy — you will make it a point to withdraw the place where God promises to be.
- Brian Connolly, Faith Like Birds Ministries