Behind Closed Doors: Opening the Secrets of Persistent Prayer - Part 4

How’s your prayer life today? Are you persistent? Are you bold? Are you getting through to God? If not, ask yourself these key questions.

Am I Making Enough Time For Prayer?

We lead busy lives here in America today. And to reward ourselves for working hard and carrying such heavy loads, we earmark our free time for amusement and recreation—which leaves little time for prolonged, persistent prayer.

Ironically, given our busyness, we need “listening times” with God more than ever. It’s not enough to spend a few minutes here and there crying out to God with our wish lists of needs and wants.

But rather, we need to set apart time for lingering in the presence of God, for only there will we experience the radical change God desires for us.

The saints of the Bible and the early church fathers knew that prolonged communion with God in the “secret place” produces spiritual depth—something that’s sadly lacking in today’s shallow Christianity.

Do you know how to linger in that secret place?

Am I Shutting Out All Distractions?

God has something to say to us and something to do in us, but in the whirl of earthly ambitions, we cannot hear Him.

Sometimes God “tries us in the night.” Sometimes He “gives us songs in the night.” And other times the Lord gives us “visions in the night.” But we will miss all these messages from Him if we don’t persist and persevere in our time alone with Him.

Getting alone with God is not always easy, however. Worldly cares and frivolous thoughts begin to assault your mind the minute you bend your knee in prayer. And just as a wind-tossed lake cannot provide a clear reflection of the world around it, a troubled mind cannot capture the image of God.

But in the secret place of his presence, God makes the noises of the outer world cease so He might speak to the soul.

How do we enter that secret place? Turn to John 20:19 for the answer. When therefore it was evening…and when the doors were shut where the disciples were…Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’

The doors were shut. Did you catch that? To keep the distractions of the world out, start by shutting the door to your prayer closet. And then, most importantly, shut the door to your heart.

Shut the door to your heart and keep unbelief out, Jesus is saying to you. Time spent in His presence will melt unbelief like fire melts a candle.

Shut the door to your heart and keep formality out. Mechanical devotion does no good. If you’re praying to satisfy your conscience, you’re only deceiving yourself.

Shut the door to your heart so you may linger in the secret place with God, for that is where sin is exposed, confessed, and slain by His great love for you.

Shut the door and keep self-will out long enough to allow God to blend your desires with His. Don’t come to prayer so you can dictate your wishes to Him, but come to enjoy His presence.

Originally published in “Come Up Higher” newsletter volume 3,  #6 June 1997