Many years ago, I preached a message titled, “What is In The Closet?”. I later wrote an article titled, “The Prayer Closet and A New Year.”
Later, I will repeat some of what I said back then. I believe prayer is the great lifeline to God in Heaven. It is our “Channel” to God. I think it is possible that many Christians have a weak, anemic, watered down, spotted and unsuccessful prayer life. If that is not a description of your prayer life, then it does not apply to you. I do not claim to have a perfect prayer life; but I do claim that I have learned in almost forty years of being a Christian, that just saying words, bowing the head, crying tears, and being dramatic with God, is not what makes a successful prayer.
Look at Matthew 6:1-15 (read) and notice several things:
(v.5) Do not pray to impress people.
(v.6) Secret prayer, (private) will reveal “openly” that God has answered.
(v.7) Avoid vain repetitions…and notice, some prayers should be short, concise, and to the point. Notice “much speaking.”
(v.8) Remember, stating our needs is not a revelation to God! He knows before we ask.
(vss. 9-13) Jesus gives the model prayer, not one to be recited, but “after this manner.”
(v.14) Notice that unforgiveness of others will keep God from forgiveness of our sins, not that we are lost again, but out of fellowship with God until we are willing to forgive others.
Years ago, my points about the things that hang in our prayer closet were as follows:
- Skeletons of the past.
- Scars of the past.
- Secret sins of the past and present not dealt with.
- Social involvements in life that shut God out and let the world, the flesh and the devil in and
- Sensual thoughts that plague the mind that are not won over by the help of God.
Those things are still true, and before any of us can have a peaceful, private, productive prayer life,…these have to be dealt with.
Now, what is the problem and what is the answer? Some people (professing Christians) rarely ever have God v.6 “reward thee openly.” What happens secretly and privately between us and God will manifest itself in our lives, and frankly, others should see that God does “reward thee openly.”
It is good to hear that God has answered prayer and we rejoice with those who rejoice. I think it is even better to see God answer prayer.
What is the problem in our lives that keeps us defeated and unfruitful in our prayer lives?
- Some people rarely go to God in prayer in the “Prayer Closet.” James 4:2 “yet ye have not because ye ask not.”
- Some people think they can go to the “Prayer Closet” without dealing with their personal life…however, Psalm 66:18 “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the LORD will not hear me.”
- Some people have so much in their lives, they cannot get into the “Prayer Closet.” You may have to mark out some of your daily activities on your “to do” list to get in the prayer closet.”
Have you ever considered how much time you give to certain areas of your life? Count it up and see if your prayer life even comes close. This may be why your life is dead, dull and too much on the human side. Compare how much time you spend with habits, hobbies, others to how much time you spend with the LORD in Prayer. This may show why God has not rewarded you openly.
Now Christian friends. Isn’t it time to clean out the closet and make room and time for the Lord in your prayer life?