Solitary RefinementFebruary 5, 2007
Matthew 6:6-8 “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. But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.”
A secret place. A “time out” if you will, from the round-the-clock circus that so many of us find ourselves a participant of. A “needful time” to get away and be in the presence of the King of Kings. Oftentimes, such opportunities seem scarce at best, and when they do appear, it can be a real challenge to keep the cares of the day from tagging along. Too often we can find our lips praying while our minds are wandering about a thousand miles away. Yet these moments alone are ever so important as they are times of restoration and fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ. Times in which we are transformed a little more into his image and another piece of understanding is received. Times to just “be still and know that he is God.” A time of building up our most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost. A time of singing in the spirit and with the understanding also. A time of such sweet communion; a passing glimpse into a time where we shall forever be with the Lord.
Hebrews 4:15-16 “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points rempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”
To some, this might sound like the words of one having an anti-social disposition, however, many of my most treasured moments are found whenever I have a private audience with the Ancient of Days. Please don’t misunderstand this. I love my family dearly and the times that we’re together, I treasure more than one can imagine. I love to fellowship with the saints whenever opportunities arise. I have a number of close friends who are still outside of the household of faith and I strive to be ready to give answer to anyone that should ask of the hope that is in me. I strive to always be a purveyor of truth while at the same time live peaceably with all. (If you present truth, there will be some who will naturally refuse to live peaceably with you, but you keep them in prayer also.) Yet the sweet fellowship with the Lord Jesus that one finds in a time of individual prayer is beyond incredible. Such moments transform us as we cannot spend serious time in his presence and still be the same as before. The short lived treasures of this life grow strangely dim as the realm of the everlasting comes into view and our affections are returned to things above.
One might call this a hermit-like, almost selfish mentality but such isn’t the case at all. When spending time in the prayer closet, we begin to see others as Jesus sees them. Instead of seeing an angry neighbor, or certain “lewd fellows of a baser sort” (Acts 17:5) we begin to see the soul that desperately needs a Savior. Such an attitude cannot be obtained on our own. It only comes as we submit ourselves to God and we can only do this by spending time in his word and in his presence. In fact, we’re doing a great disservice to those around us when we neglect time in prayer and we allow the old nature a little breathing room. These are all well known aspect of our faith, and yet such can never be overemphasized. I know firsthand what can happen when overconfidence sets in.
In my own household, it’s ever so important to not allow emotions to rule the day. When things get turmultuous, as they will upon occasion in even the most well-adjusted households, it’s always important to know where the battle truly lies and who is the one that’s walking about as a roaring lion. When conflicts arise, it’s ever so important to understand the spiritual mechanics that are in play and to not simply “react” in ways that are contrary and selfish. By staying in the prayer closet, this battle remains crystal clear and the Lord grants victory over the desire to lash out with an ill-timed remark at a time when it could cause serious damage. To be always mindful of the eternal implications of all that we do or say.
At this point, I would normally type out Ephesians 6:12, but It’s quoted so much that I’ll just do like this. It still holds true nonetheless.
Spiritual warfare is often talked about, but still not taken as seriously as it ought to be. This too is acomplished in the prayer closet as strongholds which have been such for hundreds of years can be brought to nothing by one with a measure of faith. To keep in fervent prayer those folks around us who are abiding in these final moments of the age still looking for truth in all of the wrong places. To keep them before the throne of grace, even when we don’t see anything taking place in the natural, or when they seem to be going the other direction. To stand in the gap for them and remain there for as long as it takes. To not submit to the lies of the enemy which would have us think that we’re wasting our time on such. This is something that I struggle with. When you have had someone in prayer for a long time, finally you see moverment in their heart for a brief time, and then it seems to simply vanish, it can be very disheartening. Rather than letting such things discourage us, we should pray all the more fervently for them. The devil is playing for keeps and we need to be up to this challenge.
Romans 8:26-27 “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmaties: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of god.”
I don’t know how this is going to be taken, but I’ll say it anyways. Lately, prayer time has been different; more intimate than in times previous. It seems lately to be more “singing” than just talking; both in the spirit and with the understanding. Even requests and supplications seem to be brought forth in the form of a melody. It’s not an intentionally “forced” thing; it’s just seems to be natural. I know that music is a form of worship; an emphasizing of that which is in the heart. Just like when you love someone in the natural (of the opposite sex of course) you may think of a certain song to express this love. Song seems to take everything to an entirely different; more intimate level and prayer is no exception to this. In the preence of the Lord Jesus, there is incredible joy and singing should be a natural attribute to this relationship. This “song in the night” which comes from a closeness to the Almighty. To some, this may sound totally strange, but I praise God for his song in the night and for the great salvation which he has provided for us through Jesus Christ.
I need to wrap this up. This post has been a marathon of sorts. Not having a solid space of time to type it in, I’ve come back to it throughout the day. It was intended to be submitted early this morning, (yesterday morning as it’s past midnight) but this came up and that had to be done. Such are the times that we live in. My prayer is that we all would grasp the urgency of the hour, the intensity of the battles ahead, and the imperativeness of not allowing anything to comprimise our prayer time. Lately, I’ve been blessed in finding it easier to stay focused upon the Lord even while at the monotonous workplace where the noise level is high and attitudes can be hard. To pray for individuals “upon every remembrance of them and to think upon the Lord Jesus continually. Well, it’s almost 1:30 and I’ll post this and do a little middle of the night commenting. I’ll close out with the following:
Psalm 37:3-9 “Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday. Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil. For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth.”