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18333 Exciting Idlewild Blvd.
Lutz, FL 33548

Idlewild at The Springs

8209 N 19th St
Tampa, FL 33604

Iglesia Bautista Idlewild

Main Campus, Student Building, Hall 2
 

Closet, Close it, Closeness; Intimate Prayer (Matthew 6:6)

Closet, Close it, Closeness; Intimate Prayer (Matthew 6:6)

 

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)

Jesus wants to meet with you every day! What an incredible truth and potential treasure. As believers we hear it and we know it, but perhaps we don’t fully grasp it until we actually do it.

Jesus gives invitations to the believer in scripture. (Abiding and fruit – John 15;5,7; love and obedience, dwelling – John 14;21,23; Stand at door and knock, come in and eat with him – Rev. 3:20)

He calls us into the private place to receive love, encouragement, truth, instruction, fellowship and the very nourishment and life that sustains us, satisfies us, fulfills us and blesses us. He says when you pray enter your closet or inner room. He wants us to take initiative to seek Him until we find him. We are to anticipate our time with him whether excited and full of life or dragging in weary from battle and hardship. He is as close as a private location and our Bibles. He is as close as turning our hearts toward heaven and crying out to Him. He expects us to pray because He says, “When you pray…”

Jesus says to close the door behind us when we enter our place of prayer. Close it. It might be a good idea at times to leave electronic devices on the other side of the door. It is true that many of us use our devices as tools in our quiet times with devotionals, resources (such as this one), scriptures, etc., but the goal is to remove distractions and to have time alone and uninterrupted with Jesus through the Word and the Holy Spirit. Henry Blackaby has said that we need “unhindered, uninterrupted time” with God.

A closed door in scripture can actually draw attention. There was nothing so sad for those on the outside of the door as when the door of the ark was shut with Noah and his family inside (Genesis 7:16),  or when the door was shut in the parable of the 10 virgins (Matthew 25). Those on the inside in both stories were blessed with life and even celebration. How sad to be on the outside of the door of the prayer closet when Jesus invites us to be closed in with Him in sweet life giving fellowship. The invitation is for us. The choice is ours each day. Go into the closet. Close the door. Pray, worship and fellowship.

In private or secret you will know the closeness of the Father, the Savior Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Jesus said the Father will reward you. Jesus mentions rewards 5 times in the first 6 verses of Matthew 6. He is contrasting true prayer and worship with  that which is distorted or false.  Imagine that Jesus would reward us for doing what blesses us the most – meeting with him in private prayer. We may think of rewards as something we receive in heaven, but I tend to wonder, based on the context, if the time with Jesus actually is the reward or a part of the reward. What could be a greater reward than time with Jesus in prayer?

Perhaps a reminder to get alone with Jesus in prayer would be this – closet, close it, closeness. This could be a simple road map for seeking and finding daily intimacy with the Lord.

During 21 Days of prayer at Idlewild, Feb. 3-23, 2109, Idlewild is using 21 Days of Breakthrough Prayer by Jim Maxim as a tool for encouraging prayer. For further encouragement on Matthew 6:6 go to Day 7 and enjoy.

May you be blessed as you seek the Lord in private prayer.

Greg Murphy – Minister, Family Care