The Prayer Closet

prayerBut when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. – Matthew 6:6

He that attends the prayer meetings in order to be seen of men, and is never found in the prayer closet, is a hypocrite. Private prayer is the test of our sincerity, the index of our spirituality, and the principle means of growing in grace. It is the one thing that Satan seeks to prevent the most, for if he succeeds at this point, the Christian will fail at every other.

I believe that we have greatly failed in this area and what irreparable losers we are by this sinful neglect. Can we go on robbing God what is due him or robbing our own souls of the blessings of communing with Him? Being in secret with the Most High is a place of vision, peace, and joy. The prayer closet is where strength is renewed, faith quickened, and grace revived.

I believe one of the greatest impediments that keeps us from spending this private time with our God is our non-stop lifestyles. Beloved, we must beware of being so busy in running from one meeting to another that personal dealings with God in secret are crowded out. This is an issue that transcends from the most inconsistent of church goer to the most dogmatic of pastors, who are so busily engaged in their reading and sermon preparation that their private communion with God falls by the wayside.

submitI have recently met many Christians who spend more time puzzling their brains over prophecy than being on their knees before God. Now there is nothing wrong with wanting to understand the deeper texts of Scripture, but I believe that Satan, who is no fool, would rather we pour all our time into trying to wrap our minds around the mysteries of God, than to spend that time in the presence of God. It is my belief, and maybe mine alone, that a person who sticks to reading the Revelation of John more than his epistles, or Daniel’s prophecies more than David’s Psalms, and is more concerned with reconciling Scripture than pruning themselves of unruly lusts, is someone not cut out for the prayer closet.

The most eminent saints, in Old and New Testament times, applied themselves to private prayer. “Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beersheba and called there on the name of the Lord, the Everlasting God” (Genesis 21:33). Why did Abraham plant that tree? It was so that he could have a secluded spot where he might pour out his soul before his Maker. “And Isaac went out to meditate in the field in the evening” (Gen. 24:63): the Hebrew word for “meditate” also signifies to pray, and is also rendered “commune” and “pray.” Elsewhere, we see that Jacob, Moses, Samuel, David, Elijah, Hezekiah, etc., were all men whose private devotions are recorded in God’s Word. Concerning Daniel, we read, “he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God,” (Dan 6:10) as busy as he must have been, Daniel did not allow his public duties to crowd out his private devotions. Christ Himself, when upon earth, constantly exercised private prayer. We can find this in such passages as Matthew 14:23, Mark 1:35, 6:46, Luke 5:16, where it will be found that He retired “into a mountain,” “into a solitary place,” “into the wilderness” that He might be alone with God, free from disturbance and distraction. What a blessed pattern and gracious example our Lord has shown, that we should not content ourselves with public prayers only, nor with family prayers only, but that we should also apply ourselves to secret prayer.

kneelingNow I know that this might bring forth objections. You may be thinking, “I don’t know what to pray for,” or “I just get so easily distracted and my mind always wanders off while praying; I just don’t know what I really need to be asking for.” To these I say, take courage my friends, God’s hearing of our prayers does not depend on our sanctity, but upon Christ’s mediation. God responds to our requests, not because of what we are in ourselves, but because of what we are in Christ. When God answers our petitions it is not for our sakes, nor our prayer’s sake, but for His Son’s sake. God hears the sighs and groaning of those who cannot put them into words. I pray that you would encourage yourself by the greatness of God’s mercy, His promises, His fatherhood, and by the answers you have received in the past, and that you would be found in the prayer closet once again.

Blake Hart
Disclaimer: The thoughts and views published on the Veterans to Christ blog are those of Blake Hart and in no way are meant to represent the United States Army or the Armed Forces.

Blake Hart is currently serving in the army as a unit supply specialist in Ft. Richardson, AK where he is stationed with his wife Rae and their 7 month old son Colt. Blake has served in the military for 5 years and has been deployed once to Afghanistan for a total of 12 months. He is currently transitioning into the civilian arena in the area of full time ministry. He is finishing up his Bachelor’s degree in Christian Ministry from Liberty University, and has applied to start Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary in the fall of this year to begin the process of earning his Master’s of Divinity in Homiletics.