|from our Guest Blogger Ian Toone|
|“I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had no where else to go. My own wisdom and that of all about me seemed insufficient for that day.” Abraham Lincoln|
Matthew 6:6 – “But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.”
Jesus said that God is in the secret place and that we must enter it. This correlates with one of the great promises from the Psalms: “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty” (Psalm 91:1).
We read that Jesus Himself habitually sought out a quiet and private place to spend time with His Father – “So, He Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed” (Luke 5:16).
Coming to God in a secret, quiet, private place is crucially important. We can say that with confidence because Jesus taught us about it. What’s more, even in His sinless state, the Lord felt the need to spend time away from others and be alone with God. How much more are we in need of entering this secret place!
Hiding away to come to God in private is not something just for monks and mystics. It is, or at least should be, part of the spiritual life of every believer. In fact, it can be difficult to remain close to God unless we carve out time to be in ‘the secret place’. Even time that we spend praying with others is no substitute for time alone with God.
The times we spend by ourselves, away from others, and away from distractions, matter immensely. In those times, it is only God who sees us. In those times, we are not influenced in our choices by others. We can make the conscious choice to draw near to our Father in heaven.
God works deeply in the lives of His children. He moulds and shapes us. He purifies us. He prepares us for what is to come. A significant part of God’s preparations take place in the secret place, where we interact with Him on a deep and personal level.
Our ‘secret place’ can be outdoors, just as Jesus spent time in the wilderness to be with His Father. It can be inside, in a room with the doors shut. Either way, when we draw near to the Lord in private, it is usually good if we can disconnect from the internet, hide away our phones and have a Bible close at hand.
Our Father longs to spend quality time with us. He loves to speak into our lives, and He loves to hear us pour out our hearts to Him. Do we spend adequate time in secret with God? This question is not intended to induce feelings of guilt or failure. It is to encourage us that time in God’s secret place is time extremely well spent.
“Father in heaven, thank You for wanting us to come to You in a secret place. We are sorry for the times we have failed to come. Please help us and remind us to do this more often, more consistently and more willingly. In Jesus’ name. Amen”