Journal Entry // June 3, 2023
But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. (ESV)Matthew 6:6
The contrast and remedy to hypocritical praying that Jesus provides in this passage is the same as his instruction on giving. Our heart motivations and reasons behind our actions are of vital importance. The hypocrite cares more about the applause received from his performance whereas the humble and faithful are focused on their relationship with Jesus. This is why Jesus continues to encourage us to seek him in secret. Not so much about keeping our actions private but focusing on the inward desire of our hearts. We should long for those times of close personal prayer done behind closed doors. This will allow us the freedom to pour out our hearts to the Lord without any hindrances. This secret prayer will fuel our motivations and allow us to pray in secret, with the right attitude, even when we are in the midst of a group or on a street corner.
This is an area of neglect in my life. I have times of secret prayer but they are often just done in the moment and without any form of consistency or intentionality. For many years have I tried to be more consistent in my secret prayer life but I always seem to drift back toward inconsistency. This doesn’t mean that I don’t have deep meaningful times of intimacy with Jesus in prayer. I only mean that I often pray when there are free moments available or when something is weighing on my thoughts and mind. I cherish these moments and they are of great value and encouragement to me.
What I long for in my life is to see prayer be more habitual. I read about the men and women of the Bible who were known for dedicated and consistent prayers throughout their life. I think of Daniel making consistent time and organizing his life around his prayer times, not the other way around. I think of David stopping everything to get on his knees before the Lord and praying out of desperation. I think of Peter on the rooftop praying to the Lord before receiving his vision. I think of Jesus consistently making time to leave the crowds and get away by himself to pray to his Father. These are the types of intentional prayer that I want to see in my life. This is the secret prayer I want to see developed in my heart.
I know the answer to the obvious next question. How do I go about being more consistent in prayer? The answer is simply to make time and pray. Do I want to sleep an extra hour or would I rather get up earlier and spend those quiet moments one-on-one with Jesus before my day begins? Do I want to lay in bed and read some from a book or should I take some time to close out the evening sharing my thoughts with my Savior? These are easy simple steps toward intimacy with Jesus. I know that the more consistent I am with these simple steps and begin to engage with Jesus in these intimate moments, my heart will be lifted and my soul will be kindled. The more I pray in secret the more I will want to pray in secret. The more time I spend with Jesus in humble prayer, the more time I will want to spend with Jesus. I need these moments to pour out my heart to him. I need these moments to be honest with myself and bring all my burdens before him. I need secret prayer to delve the depths of my heart and learn to trust in my holy Savior. He knows the depths of my heart and we can explore them together. His desire for me is intimacy with him. Lord Jesus, give me this desire.