“But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” (Matthew 6:6)
If Jesus pulled away from His crowded day to pray to His Father (Mark 1:35), how much more do we need to do the same?! We need desperately to go before the Lord, to confess our sin, to ask for help, to grow in trust and faith and love for Him as we pour out our hearts to Him. We must “resolutely make time for getting alone.” We must “shut the door.”
If we don’t, we might receive praise in public and be heralded as one who knows much about the Lord, but our Christianity becomes “dwarfish, stunted,” breathless and depthless. We run about, always in public, but never take stock of our true spiritual condition. God has used J.C. Ryle’s words to convict me of my own desperate need for “private meditation and communion” with Christ:
“Let us cultivate the habit of keeping up more private mediation and communion with Christ. Let us resolutely make time for getting alone occasionally, for talking with our own souls like David, for pouring out our hearts to our Great High Priest, Advocate and Confessor at the right hand of God …
I see some professing Christians always running about after spiritual food, always in public, and always out of breath and in a hurry, and never allowing themselves leisure to sit down and quietly to digest, and take stock of their spiritual condition. I am never surprised if such Christians have a dwarfish, stunted religion and do not grow … they look no better for their public religious feasting, but rather worse. Spiritual prosperity depends immensely on our private religion, and private religion cannot flourish unless we determine that by God’s help we will make time, whatever trouble it may cost us, for thought, for prayer, for the Bible, and for private communion with Christ. Alas! That saying of our Master is sadly overlooked: ‘Enter into thy closet and shut the door.’ (Matthew 6:6) …
Without it, we may make a brave show in the meeting or on the platform, and sing loud, and shed many tears, and have a name to live and the praise of man. But without it we have no wedding garment and are ‘dead before God.'” (J.C. Ryle (1816-1900) in Holiness, pg. 305 – 306)
Do I profess to follow Christ but really seek public acclaim and the praise of man? Do I, whatever trouble it may cost me, resolutely seek time in God’s life-giving presence? Do I pull away from my crowded day to confess my sin and ask for help and bow in awe before almighty God?
Do I shut the door?