When you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father secretly. And your father who sees in secret will reward you.
Alisa, my youngest daughter, is a stay-at-home mom with four kids age 6, 2, 1 and a newborn.
“To go away by herself and shut the door behind her ” likely sounds very appealing, yet it’s not a practical possibility for much of her day. From the breaking of dawn until she lays her head back down on her pillow to catch a few hours of sleep before the next feeding, Alisa’s days (and nights) are consumed with caring for her children, keeping them safe, and running their household.
Yet Alisa can, right in the midst of the day, withdraw from her concerns and thoughts to commune with her Father in Heaven. Her prayers don’t need to be obvious to others but she can reach out to Jesus and “pray in secret” as she fixes lunch for her brood, or when she changes a diaper, or when she guides her six-year-old with schoolwork. She has little time to sit down and study God’s word in this season of her life, but she can infuse His words it into her prayers throughout the day.
It’s when our prayers unite with God’s heart that breakthrough happens.
Taking God’s words and praying them over others and ourselves is powerful and life giving. Here are two of my favorites, especially when the day begins to feel overwhelming:
Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! Psalm 139: 23
Lord I will rejoice always. Make my gentleness evident to all. I am grateful that you are near to me. Help me to be anxious about NOTHING. I want to be prayerful and thankful instead so that your peace, which surpasses all understanding, will guard my heart in Jesus. Philippians 4: 4-7
It goes without saying (but I’ll say it anyway) that the deeper and more consistent my prayer life is more intimately I feel God’s presence in my life. AND prayer turns the eyes of my heart to the true needs of others, making me see them in more compassionate ways.
Prayer changes things and it changes me.
I don’t understand the “why” but I know with certainty that God moves through prayer. Time “in secret” with God is not only indispensable to my own growth and steadfastness as a believer, but intercessory prayer for others is the most powerful role I can walk in for those I care about and love.
What a privilege we have to freely ask God to hear what we have to say and to hand over our needs and concerns to Him. And it’s even a greater privilege to hear Him talk to us in return. This is a blessing that we must actively seek and purposely walk in however. We must learn to walk in this privilege in the midst of our struggles and in the face of the myriad of distractions that continuously come our way. “Pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5: 17-18