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Close the Door and Open Your Heart

Get naked before God

 

Where do you like to pray? I prefer praying at my dining room table or in a corner plantation chair in my living room.

 

Whether at the table or in my chair, I try to get away from screaming kids, piled-up dishes, unmade beds, and all sorts of luring—or ringing–electronic devices. It’s not always possible—my Bible is on my tablet. But I try.

 

Most Bible translations say to go into your inner room or closet. Unfortunately for me—and maybe for you, if I go into my closet, I’ll wind up being distracted by all the things out of place, all the things I want to buy, the things that don’t fit, so on and so on. So I skip my closet.

 

For me, going into a quiet place isn’t so much to get away from distractions—although that certainly helps. Listen to what Jesus said:

 

Here’s what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace. (Matthew 6:6)

 

 

Going to a quiet place is also about opening the inner rooms and dark corners of our hearts. It’s about getting real—taking off the masks and facing our denial. It’s about closing the door to pride, hypocrisy, and role-playing and opening our hearts to our innermost desires; secret longings; and private hurts, heartaches, and habits.

 

We can pray in public and with others—and God encourages us to do so—but in private…oh, in private, we are naked before God. He already knows our hearts but still leans in to take notice of our secret prayers. What comfort!

 

It will also come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear (Isaiah 65:24).

 

 

Consider this: Shortly before going to the cross, Jesus went to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray. He took three disciples with him and started to feel sad and troubled. He told the three men, “My soul is very sad. I feel close to death. Stay here. Keep watch with me.” He shared his suffering with close friends—a prayer request of sorts. But… “He went a little farther. Then he fell with his face to the ground. He prayed, ‘My Father, if it is possible, take this cup of suffering away from me. But let what you want be done, not what I want'” (Matthew 26:36-39).

 

Jesus prayed in private. He bared his soul in private. God honored Him in public.

 

We, too, have that promise. He will reward our honesty before Him—with His comfort, His blessings, and His presence. In the end, He will reward us before all men.

 

Let’s start today. Let’s close the door and open our hearts.

 

Come alongside… Have you been praying in private? Where do you like to pray and why? What masks do you need to take off in prayer?

 


 

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14 Responses to Close the Door and Open Your Heart

  • GuichT says:

    Mathew 6:6….. “Role Playing” before God. I never looked at it that way. When I first read your post, it made my really consider the way that I pray at times. Thank you for showing and sharing this.

    One of my all time favorite moments, and I don’t know if “favorite” is the right word here, is the moment Jesus enters the garden to pray. I have often, and I mean often, thought about that moment. The feeling my Lord must have had at that moment. Is there a better example of someone opening themselves to God in such a way in all the Bible?? Maybe, I don’t know.
    Thank you love

    • Daphne says:

      Thanks for sharing, Guich.

      I agree wholeheartedly about the Garden. Jesus could’ve approached the Father differently, but He didn’t. He opened himself up completely, even though His Father already knew. What a great example for us!

      Have a great day!
      Daphne

  • Mary Agrusa says:

    When Jesus spoke of going into your closet, the average house at that time didn’t have even one. What I have heard this is a reference to is the prayer shawl worn by Jewish people. Pulling the shawl up over you head effectively blocked your view from your surrounding and gave you a “private” place to pray.
    My favorite spot is my chair in my living room.

    • Daphne says:

      You’re right, Mary. The average house didn’t have a “closet” in Biblical times. Interesting take on the prayer shawl. I’ll have to look that up. One of my dear friends gave me a prayer shawl many years ago. It’s purple and I most treasure it.

      It seems like the living room is a common place to pray so far. 🙂

      Blessings to you, dear one.

      Daphne

  • Jennifer Carr says:

    Daphne,
    You made me think about the focus of my prayers with the Scripture that you mentioned. This is very well written and I enjoyed it very much! I must say that I have a routine that my daily prayers follow as far as making sure I am thanking God for all He has given me; meaning blessings and trials that I can learn from. I then ask for Him to guide me in my ways so that I may do His work each day and delight Him even though I am full of sin. Only with God can my work be worth anything and my sins be forgivable through Jesus’s sacrifice. I do find it very hard to concentrate sometimes because there is always something to distract me just like you said. But, I find a place of quiet and privacy for a few moments and connect with God. There are some days that I get caught up in my distractions and several days will go by without a moment of prayer! I will realize it when I feel an emptyness and then I must reconnect. I may need to get a prayer shawl, it may be a great reminder to take time with my Heavenly Father every day and not be led astray by distractions. Thank you for this article and thanks to those who commented because I learned from you also 🙂
    Yours In Christ,
    Jennifer

    • Daphne says:

      Boy, can I relate, Jennifer. I can go several days without and then ask myself, “What’s wrong with me? Oh, that’s what’s wrong.”

      I’ve read that if you get distracted while you’re praying, just to jot down the distraction–an errand, a bill to pay, a conversation to have–and continue praying. That way, you’ve acknowledged it and can go back to it later once you’re done praying. I might have to try that. Let me know if it works for you.

      Some people have differing opinions about using prayer shawls. I do think that if it helps us remove any visual distractions as we come humbly before our Heavenly Father, then it’s worthwhile.

      Thank you so much for stopping by and for your comments. I hope you will visit again.

      Blessings,
      Daphne

  • Karen says:

    Down through the years there’s one spot that I’ve found that I end up praying…besides at the house…is in the truck/car while on long trips, etc. During a trip to VA one time, I rode for hours with the radio off and just talked out loud to God. Now, people driving by probably thought I was crazy. But there were no interruptions, just a long length of road ahead of me. No one can hear me at these times. It’s a time when I spill all my thoughts, worries, questions, etc. 🙂 I sit in silence part of the time, willing to experience God’s nudging or peace on some subject I’ve been presenting to him.

    Thank you, Daphne.

    Karen

    • Daphne says:

      I love praying on long trips, Karen! I have some great conversations with God when I’m silent and still in the car–a long stretch of road before me. It’s like He’s taking me where He wants me to go–literally and figuratively.

      Thanks for sharing!

      Daphne

  • Lindsey says:

    Hello Daphne,
    I was just reading your post and I guess I was a little confused. I know that most Christians believe that God is a good and loving god, and wants people to do good things. I believe that most people want to do good things and behave morally. I also believe that many Christians haven’t really read the Bible, or just read certain passages in church. This is understandable, as the Bible is hard to read due to its archaic language and obscure references. Also many priests and preachers don’t like to read certain passages in the Bible because they present a message of hate not love….. but one part you touched on above you said “We can pray in public and with others—and God encourages us to do so” so I am a little confused because Mathew 6:5 and 6:6 is very specific on not praying in public. Also reading on women and the message of deliverance of the message (1 Timothy 2:12, 1 Corinthians 14:34, 35.) There are many verses that contradict this so I can see why some would be confused could you please help me with understanding. Thanks 🙂

    • Daphne says:

      Great question, Lindsey!

      I did some research on the Matthew 6:5-6 passage, and the distinction about praying in public vs. private was due to those who would pray out in the streets so that others would see them and think highly–or more spiritual–of them. So Jesus didn’t specifically tell us not to pray in public. Instead, he was speaking about the motive of the person who prays in public. Some of us could pray in private and still have wrong motives–which would be equally as frowned upon as praying in public with wrong motives. It’s the heart that matters. Does that help?

      I’m not sure I understand your second question. If you could explain, that would help. 🙂

      Thanks for sharing with us.

      Blessings,
      Daphne

  • Daphne, what a beautiful reminder to take time to be alone with God. I have a special prayer place and have to be up before the kids to have that time.
    Melanie Wilson would like you to read…Ask the Right Question to Succeed

    • Daphne says:

      I can relate, Melanie. If they’re at home, then I ask for some time alone to talk to God. Sometimes, it works–other times, not so much. But I take comfort in that they’re seeing me pray when they’re around the house and that I’m setting an example for them to follow as they get older.

      Thanks for sharing, Melanie!

      Blessings,
      Daphne

  • Dave Moore says:

    I love to go into my prayer room. It has a light up cross, a small pew that my father-in-law used to sit in before he preached, purple curtains, it is beautiful. It is our “secret place.” I remember when I asked my Pastor why when I was in church I would feel that it was a struggle to have my prayers heard, but in my prayer room I could ask God for anything. My Pastor replied that when I was in my prayer room alone with God there was no unbelief.

    • Daphne says:

      What a great place, Dave! I love the small pew. I’ve been wanting to find one for many years. There’s just something about kneeling down and praying at a pew. Maybe it’s the way I was raised, but I feel closer to God when I kneel down before Him. It also helps me to remember that I must decrease so that He increases. I can make my requests but, in the end, it’s His will that I want for my life.

      Continued blessings to you as you pray in your secret place.

      Daphne

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