“But you, when you pray, enter into your closet, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father which is in secret; and your Father which sees in secret shall reward you openly.” Matthew 6:6
I saw “War Room” last week and it was a wonderful movie. But that’s not what is moving me to meditate on prayer. Lord, You were already at work at that and this is just where You have brought me today. With all the other truths You’ve been having me mull over and meditate on, this has been something that’s been floating around in my thoughts and heart and today is the day to begin putting it into words and solidifying it.
I think there is a lot more to Your idea of prayer than meets the eye. It was the same thing with Your idea of giving. But before I even talk about that, I just want to understand Your perspective on pray, because maybe my perspective and Your perspective don’t line up like they ought to, like they need to. So give me open eyes and an open heart to understand Your perspective.
If I google the types of prayer, I see lists that range from the four types of prayer to twenty-one. I see things like thanksgiving, worship, fasting, intercession, faith, corporate prayer, consecration, and more. Here in Matthew, Jesus tells us, “But you, when you pray…” This is for me and this is for when I pray. It’s the word “proseuchomai” and it’s all about praying to God, about supplication, sharing our needs, and worship. It’s not just one kind of praying. It’s the whole gamut.
But here’s the problem. We’re feeble, we’re weak. Paul knew it. He shared, “[l]ikewise the Spirit also helps our weaknesses: ‘because what we may pray as we ought, we do not know’: but the Spirit itself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And He that searches the hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.” (Romans 8:26-27) It’s not that we don’t know how to pray; it’s a problem of not knowing what to pray. The problem is that I think finitely. I only see the little picture in front of me, not the big picture. Therefore, I don’t know on my own how to pray for and after Your will, God. So, I don’t know the best way to pray in unison with You unless You show me.
I wonder if learning this is the beginning of praying in faith. I mean, what if I learned to just worship You and lift You up and recall in prayer Your word and Your promises and Your Youness. I wonder If I just lifted You up more and commended every situation and need to You and didn’t worry so much about asking You how to fix them, but I just trusted You to do the right thing in every situation and just focussed on You, if that might open the door to my drawing nearer to the Spirit and if my heart wouldn’t line up more closely with Yours. Maybe even that way, I would be less effected by my circumstances because I wouldn’t be thinking about them so much. That way, I wouldn’t be upset because You didn’t work things out my way. That way, I might really just submit to You and basque in the beauty and wonder of who You are instead of basquing in the difficulties.
I mean I already know that I have a problem with my heart being decietful and desperately wicked. It’s part of our humanness. But I also know that there is Someone who knows the depths of my heart and can make me aware of it’s deceit. And I know that this Someone who has the power to search my heart and test my heart and change my heart and teach me about my heart, has placed His Spirit there within my heart to give me the mind of Christ instead of my own mind. So the One who searches my heart and knows the mind of the Spirit within my heart, allows Him to pray for me, and allows me to learn to be unified in that prayer. I may not always understand the words, but the heart of the prayer is faith, by trusting the One who loves me so greatly. So I make my prayer all about Him and He takes care of the rest.
So when I pray, it’s not for public scrutiny, it’s personal to and about God whether I pray corporately or in my own private nook. My time with God is truly my time with You, Lord. I get away, alone with You. You even did that as an example when You were with Your disciples. You took them to a dessert place and You withdrew from them to be with Your Heavenly Father. I need to do the same. I need to get alone and shut the door to shut the world out, to shut others momentarily out. Why? I need to be wholly under Your influence. In a sense, I need to shut myself out because I need to set myself aside and open myself to You. I need to worship You, my Father. I need to get private and personal. I need to get in You and I need You to get in me. I need to get so personal that it reaches my inward parts and that I reach Your inward parts. I need to throw all superficiallity away.
You see the inward parts of me, every one, no matter the condition. And when I see the inward parts of You and Your condition of holiness, I absolutely know how much I need You and how utterly dependent I am upon You and upon Your working in me. And You promise that when I come to You like this, You see into the inward parts, the secret depths of me I can’t reach and fathom, the secret depths of You I can’t reach and fathom on my own, and You “reward me openly.” That means You give it up to me. When I worship You, You bring Your truths to pass. When I worship You, I see You. When I worship You, I experience You, I come to know You and see through Your perspective. You make the secret known. You reveal Your inward Self. And You reveal Yourself openly.
The beauty of that word is that it means “shining.” You shine Yourself on me, over me, in me, through me. You make Yourself and Your ways apparent. You reveal the internal You, externally to me. You appear. I come to know. You make Yourself manifest. The inward is seen outwardly. The secret is revealed.
See, my Father already knows what I need, and my Father, You have it under control. What I need to do when I pray is remember who You are. I need to remind myself and revel in the fact that You are not only my Father, but the Father of those I’m praying for. We are in this faith together. I need to remember that You alone are holy and all that that means. I need to remember that it’s all about Your kingdom and that Your kingdom is coming and You have invited me to be a part of bringing that to pass. Your will is everything. I must pray to know it and to do it and to be united with You in it. I need to be reminded in worship that You are the one providing all my daily needs. I need to be reminded as I worship that You are the One who has forgiven me so greatly, therefore I am to forgive others so greatly. I need to be reminded as I worship You that I need You to keep me holy and to lead me in Your ways and away from sin and evil. I need to be continually reminded through worshipping You and being alone with You that the kingdom is and was and always will be Yours, that all power belongs to You and falls under You, and that You are the only truly glorious One, and that You are all that You are forever and ever without end. Amen.
This is prayer. This is what I’m called to find a quiet place to sit alone with You in and pursue. This is worship. This is trust. This is faith. This is how I’m constantly reminded of who You are so that my feeble mind and my feeble body won’t stray like a silly sheep. This is prayer.
Do I know what I worship? Really, do I know Who I worship? Jesus said, “You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know…But the hour is coming, and is here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship Him. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:22-24) Lord, teach me. I need You desperately and inwardly and outwardly. I need You. I need to be reminded. I need to be refilled. I need to understand Your perpective. I’m in desperate need to worship You in spirit and truth. Lead me there and hold me there as I commit to seek You there in the secret inward place where You are found.