“But when you pray, you should go into your room and close the door. Then pray to your Father. He is there in that private place. He can see what is done in private, and he will reward you.”
— Matthew 6:6 ERV
Our verse for today is not speaking against public prayer in general. Jesus himself did not limit His prayer to private prayer. He prayed with His disciples (John 17:11-19). He even burst into individual prayer in public on occasion (Luke 10:21). Rather, Jesus was against ostentatious public prayer (Matthew 6:5). He was against prayer that is a conspicuous show designed to impress others, rather than to communicate with God.
Nevertheless, Jesus implies here that there are some prayers that should never be made in public. There are some prayers that are solely between a person and God. Jesus himself would often withdraw from the crowds and His disciples and pray by himself: “After Jesus said goodbye to the people, he went up into the hills by himself to pray. It was late, and he was there alone” (Matthew 14:23). There are some things that you can say to God in private that should not be said in public. There are some things that are nobody else’s business.
When we withdraw from the public to our private place of prayer we can be sure that God is there with us. He comes near to us when we come near to Him (James 4:8). Psalm 91:1-4 tells us that the private place of communion with God is a hiding place of safety and protection from the trials, troubles, and tribulations of life. In that place God will cover and protect us like a bird that spreads its wings over its young. Like David, we can say in that place, “You are my place of safety, my fortress. My God, I trust in you.”
There are benefits to be had for coming to the private place and communing with God. In harmony with our verse for today, Hebrews 11:6 says that God “rewards those who sincerely try to find him.” God is the Lord of heaven and earth. When we acknowledge the Lord’s status by turning to Him instead of turning to anything or anyone else, He is pleased with us and rewards us.
Today, then, enter the private place of prayer and receive from God the rewards He has for you.
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