“But you, when you pray, go into your closet, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.” (Matthew 6:6)
It isn’t always easy to find a place of privacy in this day and age. Everyone is in such a hurry and thinks they don’t have time for anything…but I want you to know before all other things in your life make it a priority to pray. We make time for other things but we need to make time for God. God is our priority. Where do you go to find some peace in your heart in this day and age? You really do need to find a place where you can be alone with God and talk to Him each and every day. Make it your first priority. For me, I get up very early so I have quiet time with God.
Why do you meet with God?
Everything we do in life has a purpose. When we are young we go to school to do the work we are to do. When we grow up, we go to work and our work has a specific purpose. We are not there to play but to be specific and to work. If we workout…we don’t go there to just sit and do nothing…we go there to actually work out…we are specific. It is the same with our time with God. We go to a specific place (yes, we can pray anywhere) where we can be alone with God and have time to talk to Him, pray, and listen. We need to be specific and do it intentionally.
Privacy ( no distractions)
The word “closet” that Jesus uses in Matthew 6:6, tameion, is defined in Strong’s Greek Dictionary as a secret chamber, a place where a person may retire for privacy, or a place for storage (like a closet). All three of these concepts unmistakably emphasize that this place should be private and cut off from the comings and goings of the household. It should be a place where the world can be shut out. That means we need to do away with all the distractions going on in our life and our world for the time we spend with God. The reason such privacy is necessary for prayer is clear: Privacy fosters honesty, and honesty fosters relationship. How can we pray freely and openly with God when there are others nearby, who may disturb us and listen to us pray at any moment? Having a secret meeting place with God prevents any hindrances to the unbroken communion that is essential for meaningful prayer.
Intimacy comes right on the heels of privacy. Without the safety of privacy, having any depth of relationship with another person is impossible. Even when intimate friendship or relationship is developed in a group setting, it’s because of a certain privacy that surrounds the group, allowing people to bond without the encumbering presence of outsiders. There is no intimacy without privacy. We all need intimacy with our Lord. A place we can meet together in honest conversation no matter how good or bad it might be. A place we can confess our sins and repent. A place where we feel safe talking to our Father in heaven.
We don’t seem to have a problem meeting with a friend to talk in private…and our time with God is way more important in our walk with Him. It’s not just a place then…it is a special place. We should desire wanting to get to our secret place and talk to Almighty God who loves us and wants a relationship with us.
In this part of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus is talking about outward righteousness and inner righteousness. He speaks of how the Pharisees pray out loud, in public, so that people will see their piety and be impressed. Jesus says that “they already have their reward” (Matthew 6:5), meaning that praise from men is all they will receive for this action. God will not reward them.
Jesus, in contrast teaches his followers to “go into their closet” to pray, so that they will receive no praise from people. If no praise is received from people, then our reward is from the Father instead – a much better reward indeed. Praying in a secret, special place removes the “trying to impress” element from prayer and leaves us naked and open before the Father in a setting where we no longer have any motivation to pray for the wrong reasons.
Pray with others
Yes, we need to also pray for and with others. We also need to meet together in unity and pray. Pray often. Pray in agreement with the word of God and don’t stray from the truth, don’t compromise the word of God, and don’t think you can change it ever We need each other and we need to be praying for others…but all this still does not take the time that we need to pray with our God in private.
Find a special, secret place to meet with God. It will add intentional, privacy, intimacy, and integrity to your times of prayer, and you’ll find yourself looking forward to your meetings with your Father more and more. We serve an awesome God and as much as we love others God must be first. When God is first then all the rest fits together. So, find you a prayer time and place and pour out your heart to Him who will be there and listen…then shhhhhhh listen to Him!