Mar
01

Secret Place Secrets

By

 

SECRET PLACE SECRETS
by Eddie Lawrence
 

The Secret Place Scripture

TEXT:
Matthew 6:“And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 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.

 
INTRODUCTION: The Bible says so much about prayer. And people argue about the best kinds of prayer and how to pray. It reminds me of the story of three preachers……
 
Illustration – Three preachers sat discussing the best positions for prayer while a telephone repairman worked nearby. "Kneeling is definitely best," claimed one.        
"No," another contended. "I get the best results standing with my hands outstretched to Heaven."        
"You're both wrong," the third insisted. "The most effective prayer position is lying prostrate, face down on the floor." The telephone repairman could contain himself no longer. "Hey, fellas, " he interrupted, "the best prayin' I ever did was hangin' upside down from a telephone pole."
 
Well, we can all relate to doing our best praying in a crisis or emergency but Jesus calls us to a better kind of prayer life.
 
Let me challenge you to think with me about four truths related to the Secret Place. First…..
 
1. Think Prayer Time
Matthew 6:“And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 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.
 
Humorous Illustration- We all agree that prayer is important. This reminds me of the story about a man who prayed—- So far today, God, I've done all right. I haven't gossiped, haven't lost my temper, haven't been greedy, grumpy, nasty, selfish, or over-indulgent. I'm really glad about that.       
But in a few minutes, God, I'm going to get out of bed and from then on I'm probably going to need a lot more help. Thank you. In Jesus name. Amen
 
-Yes it’s a good idea to start each day with prayer.
-Notice Jesus says “When you pray….” Not “if” you pray. It is assumed that prayer will be a part of the life of each and every disciple.
-The Secret Place involves prayer.
-The Secret Place is where you can be gut level honest with God and pour your heart out.
-It is the place where real and raw are allowed.
     Think of Jesus in the garden praying the night before he was crucified.
     Think of Jacob wrestling with God all night.
-God can handle your bad moods and even negative emotions.
-God can handle your questions and even your anger.
-The secret place is the place you talk with God and share your heart and listen as God talks to you and shares his heart…..even his secrets with you.
 
2. Think Private Place
Matthew 6:“And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 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.
 
-Notice Jesus speaks about those who pray to be seen of men. The fact that they were praying publicly isn’t the issue. It is that they are praying to be heard by and seen by people. The only reward they get is the pat on the back for being religious.
-First, there is a place for public prayer. The early church prayed together corporately.
-There is a place for small group prayer. Jesus talked about the power to 2 agreeing and 2 or 3 meeting in his name and asking in his name.
-Jesus prayed with his disciples. He invited three of his disciples to pray with him for an hour. So private – prayer is not the only prayer and it is not the only powerful prayer.
-And we are to pray without ceasing, that is, we should live with a continual awareness of God being with us all the time. Yet, the secret place is a special place of communing with God.
-If all you have is public prayer or small group prayer and no private prayer, then you do not have the full picture of the life the believer is called to live.
-Jesus teaches us about that place where you go and shut the door behind you and it’s just you and God.
-This is the place the cell phone, the ipod, the ipad, the pager, the tv, and Facebook are left behind. The place where no family or friends are present. The place where it is just you and God.
-I would even add that though at times having worship music can be a great benefit to one’s prayer time, we also need to have times when the only sounds we hear are those of God’s voice and our voice and maybe the sounds of nature.
-I do not believe this has to always be a literal room though that is certainly fine. It can be a back porch, a trail in the woods, a bench in the park, soaking in the tub, a parked car in a quite place.
-The goal is privacy and quietness, and minimal distractions. A place for one’s soul and spirit to be nourished by God and refreshed by His presence.
-Jesus would head to the mountains to pray all night. He would draw away into a private place to be with His Father. So should we,
 
3. Think Personal Relationship
Matthew 6:“And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 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.
 
-Notice that Jesus says that we pray to our Father. A few verses later he gives them an example of how to pray and begins it with “Our Father who is in Heaven….”
-Jesus in his life and teaching brought a new deeper dimension of relationship to God into the lives of those desiring to know God. He introduces Him as Father.
-Prayer is about a personal relationship. A child to a Father. A family relationship. This is more intimate that someone who simply has a general sense of God as creator. This is very personal and intimate. As little children we are invited to come before a loving Father and receive whatever it is we need. We can pour our heart out to Him knowing His heart toward us is love and care.
-Father desires for us to know Him in this way. He has placed His spirit in us that beckons us to call Him “Abba” which means “Papa” or “Daddy.”
-The truth is as we get to know Him more personally in this way, then we are better able to know ourselves. Why? Because our life is hid in Him. As we find Him, we find ourselves. Why? Because we are made in His image to bear His likeness, so as we can to know Him, we discover our very true selves.
-Knowing God as Father turns prayers into family time. It turns prayer into a safe, secure, time with the One who loves you most. It turns prayer into the time you can share your deepest desires and secrets and in return to be entrusted with the secrets that your Father whispers in your ears.
 
4. Think Promised Reward
Matthew 6:“And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 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.
 
-Yes there is a reward and it is one that others see. Jesus said Father would reward us openly.
-We do not pray for the reward but when we pray in this way, we do get rewarded.
-Remember Hebrews 6 which tells us that God “is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him”?
-You see it is God we seek, not the reward. I too believe that the greatest reward we get for seeking God is that we find Him. Yes, in finding Him, we get to know Him and in knowing Him we began to resemble Him. In this way we begin to influence others because we are becoming more like our Father who is in Heaven. As such, our lives lived on earth began to release the essence of Heaven.
-Are there other rewards, sure, the answers to the prayers we pray but none of these have the lasting value of our being conformed into His likeness through time spent with Him in the secret place.
-Time spent with Father in the secret place yields the fruit of being a supernaturally inspired child of God in one’s daily life. Just as Jesus’ presence affected those around him, so does our lives begin to do the same. It is the fragrance of God lingering on us because we have drawn away into His presence.
 
Conclusion: Can you close everything else off for a moment and think about a place you might could begin to spend some time alone with God? Now, can you think of the best time of day you could do this? Lastly, would you consider committing to do this this week? Even if it’s just 10 minutes to begin with, it will be life changing for you and the effect of it could very well change many other people’s lives.

Eddie Lawrence
As a husband, father, pastor, author, and web developer, Eddie lives an exciting and productive life. He holds earned Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry degrees and is also the owner of Sermon Seedbed.

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