When Jesus taught the hillside crowds about prayer He said:
“But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.” (Matthew 6:6 KJV)
Shut the door!
Don’t let your closet become crowded.
The closet is a picture of the space you construct for the presence of God to take priority and precedence in your life.
It is a holy place sanctified and set apart in holy expectation that something special and supernatural will occur.
Satan hates that thought. Your own flesh will fight against being dethroned. Carving out the boundaries of your closet and hammering the pegs into the ground to prepare your spiritual sanctuary takes work and will face resistance within and without.
The ground of your soul that you are possessing for the practice of prayer may have been occupied for many years, overrun by the cares and concerns of this life, the deceitfulness of riches, desire for other things, greedy pursuits, and devilish trespassers.
Brother, sister, it is time to give eviction orders!
The desire for other things must go and the door firmly slammed in the face of distraction. This does not mean that we neglect our responsibilities. We still build our businesses, bring up our children, love, and tend affectionately to our wives and husbands. But our totem pole of priority is radically rearranged so the idols of modernity no longer stand at its head.
If the door is not closed to disturbance an entourage of concerns, comparisons, and competitive notions will creep into the closet with you. What is intended to be a holy space becomes crowded with personalities other than the One you are seeking.
Yesterday’s concerns will bustle in, seeking to fill the atmosphere with worry. Tomorrow’s uncertainties will goad you out of the sanctuary to seek and sort them in your own strength.
If you are not careful, the prayer closet becomes a thoroughfare for any thought that chances by.
This kind of distracted atmosphere is not conductive to effective prayer. The heart and mind bounce here and there, never landing upon any subject long enough to harness it to the will of God and pray it through.
In an age of 3-second attention spans the old school practice of “praying through” is foreign to most men. We want answers and we want them now!
Fervency gives way to urgency and pressing present concerns relegate real Kingdom priorities. In the life of a fierce man or woman of prayer this tendency to dance around must be subdued.
Ferocious focus is needed.
Prayer requires your full attention. There is no half-hearted approach to God. He is a consuming fire, and the idea that we can balance worldly ambitions and the wilds of the Spirit is foreign to Scripture.
The first commandment is to love God unreservedly in mind, body, soul, and spirit. There is no room for maybe.
Amusements will seek to barge into your prayer time. Thoughts will push for attention. Niggles will rise to the surface. Negative emotions will elbow their way into your closet attempting to divert your gaze.
Keeping your eyes firmly fixed on Jesus is not easy when your soul has been trained to jump with every ping and vibration.
The life of prayer is not a hurried one. Prayer life is counter-culture. Today’s lifestyle of rush, hurry, consumption, accumulation, competition, and comparison conflicts entirely with the pursuit and attainment of the rich, unhurried, and hearty inner life that you crave.
To honestly become a man of the spirit is not something you can conveniently cram into your Daytimer.
Prayer is life. It demands change and transformation in every area, not just the small space behind the door of your closet for a few minutes of quiet. Prayer is not a box that you tick.
Fierce focus doesn’t happen by accident. Your inputs throughout the day must change, or they will crowd into your closet even with the door has been closed. Priorities and pace must be made subject to the demands of the sanctuary, not the other way round.
Too often prayer is crammed around our day, not our day shaped around prayer.
Prayer is not something you can ‘fit in’ to your furious over-busy schedule. It will take time, attention, and costly devotion. If you want God’s presence and Voice to be more than a side dish, you must sit at the right table.
Jesus is not going to barge into your schedule and force your hand. If your life is crowded with a multitude of minor affairs, He won’t push them aside demanding your attention.
Shoo the crowd from your closet and open the door to the King.
“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” (Revelation 3:20 KJV)
The door that He’s knocking, and wants to step through, is the door you shut to the noise and hurry of the world.
This precious place of prayer will soon become your most treasured place on earth because it’s here that Heaven breaks in and you get to sup with the Savior.