I love this prayer team, and the impactful time we spend in prayer together. There is power in prayer because we are praying to an all powerful God. I love to gather a few women together to pray to the Lord over each other and our specific requests. Corporate prayer at church is so vital to the health of a church. Many times I have gathered my children and family around our living room to pray about something specific that is urgent. These types of prayer are all good and necessary. But there is also another way to pray that Jesus tells us about in Matthew 6:6 - He wants us to pray to God in secret!
“But you, when you pray, go into your room,
and when you have shut your door,
pray to your Father who is in the secret place;
and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.”
Prayer Tip #27 - Pray In Secret Too!
We know that Jesus wants us to pray together in church, because He said, "My house shall be called a house of prayer," in Matthew 21:13. This makes me curious as to why Jesus suggested that we take time to pray in secret? He gives more insight in verse 5. Jesus explains that some approach prayer with the wrong heart motivation. With others around, they get distracted and care more about what those around them think of their eloquent prayer than considering the Person they are praying to. Jesus shockingly refers to this group of people as "hypocrites," or "pretenders"! They are not praying to connect with God, but to sound spiritual in front of others.
Jesus further explains that our Heavenly Father sees what is done in secret. He knows the secret motives of our heart when our focus is wrong. He also sees us in secret when we bow before Him with a humble heart of humility, in private, and bring our requests to Him. Jesus says that Our Father will see our secret prayers, and will reward us openly! What an amazing promise!
So yes, we should continue to pray at church, in our small groups, and with our families! But also take the time to pray in secret, before your Heavenly Father. The King James Version says, "...enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret..." I like the idea of a "prayer closet," - a quiet place where you can get away from all distractions and other people and truly pour out your heart before God. There is no pretending there because you can completely be yourself and tell God all your struggles, problems, and concerns. You can bare your soul before God and know that He loves you unconditionally and He hears your prayer.
"...Pour out your heart before Him;
God is a refuge for us."
If you have not taken the time to pray in secret before God, I encourage you to find a place around your home that is free of distractions, where you can pray in secret and tell God all that you've been keeping in. Maybe there is something you've been holding back, that you know you need to share with your loving Heavenly Father. Pour out your heart before Him because He is a safe place and a refuge for you!
Lord, help me to pray in humility and sincerity before You.
Jesus, help me to take time to pray in a secret place, so there is nothing to distract me from being myself before You.
Lord, help me not to "pretend" with You.
Jesus, give me strength to not care what other people think of my prayers, but to be completely honest with You.
God, I praise You that You hear my prayer, even when I am alone. You care deeply for me, and You want me to pour out my heart to You.
Suggested Prayer - Pray these words in your heart or out loud:
I come before You in Jesus' Name and I praise You that I can pour my heart out to You in a secret place, with no distractions. I can completely be myself with You because You love me unconditionally. You want to answer my secret prayers openly. Jesus, thank You for caring more about the inside of me than the outside of me. You see deep into my heart and soul and You know what is truly there. You are my safe place and my refuge. I can open up to You and share all my struggles, worries, and problems. I praise You that You are bigger and stronger than any problem I face, and there is nothing that I cannot tell You. I want to get honest with You today, so I need to tell You: __________________. (Share something that you've been wanting or needing to tell the Lord.) I want to be completely sincere with what is on my heart. I know that You are strong enough to hear it and to help me, and I trust You.
In Jesus' Name I pray, Amen!