July 19 I Tuesday
“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
Jesus opens His teaching on prayer by warning about hypocrisy that can find its way into our prayer lives. To avoid it, He tells us not to put on a show, but go alone to meet with the One who knows us completely in the quietness. As Jesus teaches His disciples about prayer, He is essentially teaching them what has been characteristic of His ministry. The whole time He was with them, He constantly went to the secret place where He prayed and communed with the Father. Jesus did not go to solitary places to escape the world or simply to have some self-gratifying experience. He was in the secret place to align with what His Father was doing in the world.
As a child, we may have constructed our own fortress using all the furniture in the living room and gathering all the blankets in our home to make it comfortable. Similarly, we need to intentionally build a fortress of prayer, a secret place where we meet God in our life. May we spend some time this week to find a place where we can be alone with God. If we are new to this, enter slowly into spending time in His presence, delighting in who He is and inviting Him to show us how He is at work. We can bring our authentic selves there as we praise and worship Him, laying before Him any pain that we have been carrying for far too long and letting Him know how we do not want it to control our life. We can ask Him to show us if there is any grudge, bitterness or anger against another, and lay it at His feet. The secret place of prayer is primarily about aligning us with God’s agenda here on earth.
In Matthew 6:6, Jesus reveals the path to the blessed life as He says, “Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” There is a profound mystery that Jesus speaks to, because He actually embed a promise into the secret place of prayer. When the God of the universe—who calls the stars by name, who sustains all things by His powerful Word and holds it all together—sees what is done in secret, He promises to reward those who make this a priority in their lives. What is this reward? Being able to meet with the Creator and experience the blessedness that Jesus refers to in the Beatitudes. The secret place has a reward waiting for us there; it simply requires us to place a priority on going to that secret place with Him.
Prayer: Gracious Father, help me to make it a habit to commune with You in the secret place daily. Show me how to align what I am doing with Your agenda here on earth. Thank You, Lord.