Matthew 6:6– But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret.

For a short time as a young teenager, my sisters and I lived with our grandparents out in the country with the closest neighbor a mile and a half away. I loved it! My favorite thing to do was climb the hills behind the house, cross the creek, and watch for deer, or take paper and pen with me to write my thoughts. I loved the woods, the earthy smells, the quiet sounds, but most of all the aloneness. I could talk to God or just appreciate his amazing creation and sometimes even get lost and have to find my way home. Like David in Psalm 131, I could say, “I’ve calmed and quieted myself” after time by myself in my secret place.

I love the picture in Mark 1:35 of Jesus getting up very early in the morning while it was still dark, leaving the house, and going off to a solitary place where he prayed. Does this mean Jesus never wants us to pray out loud or with others? No, he often prayed so others would hear, and praying with other believers encourages and comforts us.

God knows how noisy and chaotic our lives have gotten. We rarely sit still and when we do we are either being entertained by the television or are being bombarded with images, ideas, and notifications on the little screen of our cell phone that never leaves our side. Hence he tells us to go to a secret place and shut the door, where we can be still and focus on him alone without distractions. Jeremiah 29:13 tells us “And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.” Mark Batterson said in his book Whisper, “God often speaks loudest when we’re quietest.”

So, we have the responsibility to find a place where we won’t be interrupted, take our bible, maybe a journal and just be still. Talk to him but listen for that still small voice, that whisper–that thought or idea that could only come from him. Have you experienced it? It makes you want more, but it requires something of us. It might require getting up earlier to spend time alone with him in prayer and scripture or sacrificing something in your day for that time. That doesn’t mean we can’t talk to him while driving, cleaning the house, or at any other time, but there is a difference when we go to a secret place or shut the door and seek him with all of our hearts. I know my heart soars when my adult children call or grandkids, so I can only imagine how my Abba Father feels when I seek him and want to listen to his voice. Lord, help us make choices that bring us closer to you and delight your heart. Amen.

Deb Hill

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