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Back then I was pretty proud of praying in the closet, I told a friend about it, and figured she would think I was more radical than her - a kind of a one-upmanship sort of thing. Smiling and waiting for her response, she, without a blink or hesitation, enumerated the many advantages of the closet -- her already tried location.

Closet Christian

“And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites  are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men.  Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.  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 6:5-8)

Isn't it just like the devil and his bunch to get you to do things opposite of what the Lord Jesus would have you to do?  Take this praying in secret business - in the closet.  When was the last time you heard a sermon directing you to, literally, go into a closet and pray?

I can't remember the first time trying it, but I was probably a bit poorer and didn't have a lot of toys in there.  And for some, their closets would be impossible to get into because they haven’t been cleaned out in decades.  And for others, theirs are full of buried treasure, like the moth-nibbled clothes they wore in high school that only a memory can get into, plus metal objects that tarnish and rust over.  Talking about rust, once I mentioned to someone about doing some drive-in camping, and they offered their insulated gallon jug with a spigot. It hadn't been used in twenty years, and its outer metal wall was found to be paper thin and rusted through in spots.  Strangely it just sat in a dry and protected location over the years and rusted away anyway.  Have you heard?  Even a new razor blade will dull if it’s locked in a bank vault over time.  It's just the way it is with everything in this world, including our bodies: getting older and decaying every day, at one rate or another.

As a young believer, I thought to try and pray in a closet, because it was an order from headquarters, and it was easy to do.  So I made some space in mine and put a towel at the bottom of the door to shut out the light.  It wasn’t the last time, either. Sometimes I'd bring a notebook and pen with me, and if a good idea came from the Lord, I'd pull the long light chain that had been rigged up, wrote it down, and shut off the light again. 

One person I thought about in the closet was the apostle Paul stuck in a dank and dingy dungeon.  Sure, he suffered a lot, but there was the compensation of not being distracted by the world. Some of the scholarly bunch say Paul wrote many of the epistles in prison, and that’s one reason the Lord had him there: so he could catch up on his backlog of paperwork.  Paul mentioned, also, after his conversion, being taught directly by the Lord Jesus Christ in Arabia. (Galatians Chapter 1) Maybe out there in the sagebrush he had a rather large closet to pray in, so to speak.  And we can figure Moses had those solitary moments for forty years as a shepherd before he began his ministry, and on Mount Sinai during two forty day retreats, not to mention the forty years wandering in the wilderness.  Usually praying is thought to be a one-way conversation with God, when it ought to be our praising, worshipping, and petitioning him, and his responding back to us.  You can hear his still small voice, like Elijah did, in your closet, if you listen. (I Kings Chapter 19)

Back then I was pretty proud of praying in the closet, I told a friend about it, and figured she would think I was more radical than her - a kind of a one-upmanship sort of thing.  Smiling and waiting for her response, she, without a blink or hesitation, enumerated the many advantages of the closet – her already tried location. Since then, I have met a few more who have prayed in a closet, and suppose you could call us, “Closet Christians.”

The admonition to pray in secret in Matthew Chapter 6 is followed by what many call, “The Lord's Prayer.” In context, it seems the Lord’s prayer example is to be prayed in secret, but it is commonly taught to be a congregational prayer. Did you ever hear it taught to be prayed in secret? Probably not.  And just before you read it, there is the prohibition of praying repetitiously like the heathen. This may remind you of the Roman Catholic’s cyclic Rosary prayer, that is so repetitious and long, they use a strand of beads to keep track of their Hail Mary’s and Our Fathers, lest they lose count or repeat them out of order. Once a man was trying to convince me to become a Roman Catholic, and proudly pointed out, “One billion Catholics can't be wrong, can they?”  The correct answer is, “Yep, they can,” because there is plenty of room on the broad road to hell. (Matthew 7:13-14)

Also, note the Lord's Prayer is a prayer of intercession that does not begin, “My Father which art in heaven,” but, “Our Father which art in heaven.” Take a hint; intercede for the body of Christ, and yourself, by praying in secret, and “thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.”

And so, until we meet again, remember… God loves you.  Read your Bible.

 

Maranatha


The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.  Amen