Jesus said, “Instead [of praying so people will notice you], whenever you pray, go to your innermost room, close the door, and pray to your Father, who is in secret. Then your Father, who sees in secret, will give you your reward.”
— Matthew 6:6 (USC)
Solitudes of the Lord are at direct focus, here.
This, I do not believe, however, is any slight against public prayer. Jesus, in getting to the very heart of how to commune with God, is insisting we cannot know the Father without going into our innermost room – the sanctuary of the soul.
Going into our innermost room has nothing to do with the environment without but it has maximum to do with the conditions of silence from within.
Such prayerfulness is learned, just as the deepness of intimacy of relationship comes to be because of the investment we make. Now, we make such an investment out of a heart of devotion, and for no other reason.
We don’t create intimacy because someone makes us. We make intimacy happen because we want it! And, if we want God enough, we will go to our Refuge of Righteousness, through our entry into our innermost room.
We will go there. We will depart from the burdens of our world for a time; to separate ourselves from distractions; to dwell long enough to lose touch with every extrinsic connection; nothing might go there between mind and heart; vacuous we become.
And, from there, when we have arrived in that sacred space – alone – unwearied – contemplative – unadorned – we are ready, finally, to commune with God, which is foremost to hear from him.
We find so much a richer experience for hearing from him than demanding he hear from us. But communion is also a free flow of communication ‘unassisted’ by distractions.
Jesus’ heart for prayer is solemn as we, also, are to be solemnly devoted to him.
Indeed, prayer cannot be separated from Jesus, as it defines our intimacy.
We meet our Lord in that sanctuary of the soul where he, alone, tends to us.
Any distraction in the way is rid of if we contend in truth. Going into that innermost room, we partake of the sweet and very ethereal rewards of the Father who loves us.
The sanctuary of our soul is the Tent of Meeting where God bears us and we are embalmed in his Presence. We cannot go there and remain unchanged.
QUESTIONS in REVIEW:
1. The most intimate experience with God forever changes us, defining us. Think back to such a time; what made it so significantly special?
2. Thinking back to praying so people will notice you how are you to ensure that never happens again as far as it depends on you?
© 2015 S. J. Wickham.
Note: USC version is Under the Southern Cross, The New Testament in Australian English (2014). This translation was painstakingly developed by Dr. Richard Moore, a NT Greek scholar, over nearly thirty years.