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. Matthew 6: 6 (NASB)
Not The Showy Type
It’s interesting to note that in the scriptures, Jesus prayed very little publicly and when He did, His prayer was usually short. Even the example He gave us in the “Lord’s Prayer” is not a lengthy prayer but concise and to the point. Yet we see that several times in scripture Jesus prayed alone for long periods of time.
There is no denying that corporate prayer is important. God commands that we gather together to pray and worship. Such corporate prayer is necessary for our spiritual worship. However, we must not neglect the secret prayers that are equally important to God as outlined in Matthew 6:6 (above).
These secret prayers — offered up in private from an inner room — are the prayers that open our eyes to a wealth of truths and bring us individually into the presence of God. During secret prayers, the Holy Spirit brings to mind things He wants us to pray. We are enlightened in indescribable ways that only the heart can fathom. In that inner room, we are able to cast all our cares on Him and know He is listening.
God also reveals Himself to us in awesome ways during these private times with Him. We get a sense of His holiness and thus are led into repentance. We break out in praise and exclaim our gratitude to Him. We understand better what it means to intercede for others and we are confident that He will answer our prayers.
Corporate prayer is important, but we cannot neglect the secret prayers Jesus called for in Matthew 6. He went into the inner room with His Father. Although He was God Himself, He still needed what the prayer uttered in privacy would bring. Such an individual audience with God the Father is a privilege He has given to us as well, although undeserved and granted solely by the grace of God. As amazing as it may sound, the God of the universe desires our fellowship. And He rewards us when we give that fellowship back to Him.
Have you ever thought what is meant by the phrase, “Give the shirt off your back”? This is a loose interpretation of Jesus’ words recorded in Matthew 6:40-41. The Bible is replete with sage teachings about giving freely to others without concern for recompense. God wants us to give without expecting anything in return. No strings attached! Such giving is one way that we can build up our “other-oriented” attitudes. We give because we want to bring joy to another person’s life. We will receive joy in return, but our motivation is to give joy to someone else, not to Self.