But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
~Matthew 6:6, NIV
The secret to prayer is to pray in secret.
Some years ago, a tiny book on prayer made it to the top of the New York Times best seller list; it even surpassed Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone. The title of the book, The Prayer of Jabez. The short prayer is found in 1 Chronicles 4:10, “Oh, that you would bless me and expand my territory! Please be with me in all that I do, and keep me from all trouble and pain!” The little book went viral overnight, and it seemed that everyone was praying the prayer of Jabez, and why not. Who doesn’t want to be blessed, have their territory expanded and spared from harm, trouble and pain? But the prayer was grossly misunderstood; people were treating it like a rabbit’s foot or an amulet. When anyone has great success, we all want to know the secret. So, what is the secret to a healthy prayer life?
According to Jesus, it is to pray in a private or secret place, a room that has a door. The secret of prayer is to shut the world out and get alone with the Father. In 2023 I want to do a better job of encouraging people to pray and it begins with a commitment on our part to pick a time and a place. There is a lot of false teaching on prayer and some of it is motivated by the greed of false teachers. Prayer is not a good luck charm or a fetish. The football team that prays before the game does not always win. Joni Eareckson Tada was injuries in a diving accident and has spent the rest of her life in a wheelchair. She has written several books and has been an inspiration to millions. It was thirty years before Joni understood why God had not healed her and enabled her to walk again. Her husband carried her to Israel and rolled her down to the pool Bethesda. Joni spent years visualizes herself laying by the pool and Jesus healing her miraculously as he did the man in the Bible. Something happened in Joni when she saw the ruins of the old pool and she erupted in praise. The revelation hit her like a bolt of lightning and suddenly she became overwhelmed by her emotions and began praising God for her wheelchair. It was there that she realized for the first time that Jesus had transformed her wheelchair to a secret place and the intimate relationship she shared with Him would have never happened otherwise. The goal of prayer is not simply to get something from Christ but to give ourselves totally to Him. Intimacy with Him is our greatest earthly treasure.
Tomorrow we will talk about Prayer and asking. God loves to give, and He wants us to ask. Many today are discouraging us from asking but it is the law of prayer. Can you imagine a child who never asks their father for anything. It is natural for a child to ask.
There have been a lot of promotions from the East side of the county this week and I think June said there were three from the Grace Point area. May the LORD grace us to minister to these folks during this difficult time.
I was not watching TV last night when the NFL player dropped dead. I did see the tape. It is my understanding that he was revived and that his vitals are stable. It did remind us of what is important and what is not. I am a man and a football fan, but the NFL is violent. They move so fast and are so strong that they game is more dangerous than it was when we didn’t have all the protective gear. Some of the collisions are brutal. I told June, “I’m surprised that more people are not seriously injured or even killed at the speed they play. It did remind us that football is just a game.
Books I highly recommend:
- No Reason To Hide by Erwin W. Lutzer
- Praying The Bible by Donald S. Whitney