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Foundations For Our Future #85

Foundations for Our Future (85)

by: The Rev. Dr. Jon Shuler

Prayer in Secret

Most of us are familiar with the public prayers of the church, and it may be the only place we actually pray that is seen by others. There is no condemnation ever spoken by the Lord that would criticize sincere and honest prayer in the community of the faithful. But there is prayer in public that he does not condone. Such prayer is designed to bring attention to ourselves. It is meant to make us look good in the eyes of others. It is prayer that comes from an unsubmitted heart. Jesus says it is hypocrisy. (Matthew 6:5-6)

What does God want from us in prayer? He wants a deep and intimate relationship between us and him. Prayer is to involve time alone with him. Prayer is to be a two way conversation between us and him. It is a divine communion between a believer and his Lord. Sometimes it is characterized by silence. Simply sitting in one another’s presence. Sometime it involves a flow of emotions and words. But always, when it is is real, it involves a desire to draw near to the heart of God. The rest of life passes away. The world recedes for a few precious moments.

Learning to pray this way is not simple. It involves baby steps, and repeated effort from all who recognize its centrality in the Christian life. Lent comes to beckon us to a way of prayer that is to become normal for us. It is a dance of grace, truth, and love that we are to learn, in secret.