Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.”Luke 11:1 NKJV
The Second part of our devotional life is personal private prayer.
As God’s people, we are to be people of prayer and our prayer life begins with our private devotions. Jesus made it clear to all of us in Mathew 6:6 NIV, “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”
Prayer begins in our life as a “closed door” experience. Notice Jesus did not say IF you pray, He said WHEN you pray. This teaches us that prayer is an expected discipline in the life of the believer. E.M. Bounds, one of the greatest historical authors on prayer said, “Private Place and plenty of time is the life of prayer.” The “life” of prayer is found in private. We must understand that private devotions fuel everything else in our spiritual life. The outflow of His life in us requires a private life of devotions. When we begin to mix the Word of God (see last week’s devotion: oakhillag.com/weighty-words ) along with prayer in our everyday private life, amazing things begin to happen. Notice, in Mathew 6, that Jesus said prayer begins behind a closed door but then there is public reward that follows.
That word reward in the original Greek means to deliver or to discharge something that was given under oath; to render to an account. So, what Jesus is saying, is that when we spend time in private prayer in our secret place, it creates deposits into a “prayer account” that will at some point in your life be publicly discharged! We don’t pray specifically for the reward, but we pray knowing that we are planting private seeds that will create a public harvest. God does want us to know there is a reward. A farmer doesn’t sow a seed without knowing that he is going to reap a harvest.
Bob Sorge, in his book “Secrets of the Secret Place” said, “Our devotional life with God is more like the planting of a garden. When we arise from sowing into the secret place, we will not usually be able to point to immediate results or benefits. What we sow today will require an entire season of growth before the results are manifest.” We must recognize that time in the secret place of private devotional prayer is necessary for our spiritual lives. God accounts for the time we spend and the private prayers we pray. The bible teaches that God is a rewarded of those who diligently seek Him (Heb. 11:6) and that He will reward openly and publicly the things we spend time seeking for in prayer. Be careful friends, that as a Christian we do not try to receive from public prayer, corporate church gatherings, and or group prayer the things that are only cultivated and only rewarded by what is done in private. Have we tried to reap a harvest from public prayer that only comes from private prayer? Are we waiting on things that we asked God for publically that He expects us to first ask for in the secret place?
“The infallible test of spiritual integrity, Jesus says, is your private prayer life. Many people will pray when they are required by cultural or social circumstances. Those with a genuinely lived relationship with God as Father, however, will inwardly want to pray and therefore will pray even though nothing on the outside is pressing them to do so. They pursue it even during times of spiritual dryness, when there is no social or experiential payoff.” – Timothy J. Keller
I want to encourage you today to create time and space in your life for private devotions. I want to challenge you to read the word at least 5 times a week and spend time in prayer least 5 times a week seeking Him. When you do this, it will begin to build your prayer account. It is a prayer account that one day, God will reward openly for His Glory! And also for all of you that have prayers, which you have prayed in secret and have sown into your prayer account abundantly, there is a heavenly discharge coming! It is one, which only God can promise and He will reward you openly, because He sees you praying behind closed doors!
Lord Jesus, Today I ask you to touch my heart and draw me daily to private prayer. I determine to close the door and pray in the secret place, because I know that my “prayer account” will one day need to be withdrawn from so that I can be a blessing in someones life! Thank you Jesus that you hear and answer prayer and that my heart is being stirred toward the secret place!IN JESUS NAME! AMEN!
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- Bible Reading (Devos) (5 times / week)
- Private Prayer (5 times / week)
- Private Worship (5 times / week)
- Journaling (2-3 times / week)
- Supplemental Reading (2-3 times / week)