By: Minister Cedric Frank Sterling
Matthew 6:6: 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.
All my life as a child growing up in Jamaica, West Indies, I always saw and heard my mother praying. If there was trouble, she would always persevere in putting it before the Lord.
In the case of my siblings and me going to the right schools, mom would pray. We did not have much materially speaking, but we had a praying mother. We did not know where our next meal was coming from, mom would pray. There was not anything too great or important that the Lord wouldn’t hear about it from mom.
I am remembering how mom would get us up early on Saturday mornings to have devotion. This practice would continue well into our adolescent years. Mom would read the scriptures and we would sing the hymns and pray together as a family. Little did I know that my mom’s practices would become the foundation and bedrock to mold and shape me into the person that I am today. In Matthew 6:5, Jesus taught His disciples about the new kingdom, one of His instructions to them was “And when you pray.” Growing up I watched my mother pray at every juncture of our lives. I came to realize that there was something special about prayer. Her dedication every day to seek the Lord was astounding. Not only did prayer commanded her dedication, but the solitude it required of her was most important. Jesus in Matthew 6:6 spoke of this quiet place where meaningful conversation with Him took place.
Sisters and brothers, followers of Christ and seekers alike, the inner room or the secret place is the place wherever one chose to meet with our teacher of prayer. He is already there waiting to hear our request. This place is where we would find ourselves alone and naked, bare before our Father not hiding anything, but exposing our innermost vulnerable and treasured secrets. Yes, I said it treasured secrets. We have them and we want to hold on to them for dear life, but in the secret place with Christ, He teaches us how to let them go and release them into His capable hands.
The secret place does a few things for us. One, it brings us into the presence of our Father and Savior, locking out the world and its distractions (closing the doors of the world). Secondly, the secret place helps us to withdraw from the flesh and its desires to establish our spiritual connection to our Father. Thirdly, the secret place is where the master of prayer teaches us how to pray correctly. Last but not least, the secret place is where the secrets of God are revealed to those who would take the step of faith to enter and sit with Him in meaningful and open conversation. Ah, in the secret place with God is where every believer should strive to be, for life, for church, for family, for souls, for the work of the harvest, for the kingdom of the gospel.
In the secret place with God, motives will be exposed, good and bad. There is nothing that is hidden from the Father’s eyes or ears, He sees all and He hears all, there is nothing that can be convoluted in the secret place in His presence. The secret place is where we catch a glimpse of the Father’s faithfulness. Our conversations with the Father in the secret place must be sincere and honest before Him, then and only then He rewards us openly before man. When we enter the secret place, in the presence of our Father, life takes a different turn. No longer is doubt or fear controlling you, but rather submission and trust in Him. In the secret place it is no longer our will, but the will of the Father for our lives. Remember God our heavenly Father is faithful to the end to fulfill all that we ask of Him.
In the secret place the Father hears our cry of pain and fear and comforts us. In the secret place in prayer with the Father, our petitions become His will for our lives. As the word “secret” suggests “private”, our private conversations with our heavenly Father provide the answer to our need. “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.”