Be still and know I am God.
When you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
~ Matthew 6:6
We cannot doubt the importance of worshipping God with others. Whether we stand and shout in a megachurch with a widescreen video, or kneel and hear a liturgy in a traditional setting, or simply get together with a few fellow Christians in a home for prayer and praise, having a fellowship worship experience is an important part of our life in Christ.
But there is a completely different kind of prayer, and it is quiet and private. The instruction to pray in this way comes from the mouth of Jesus himself, in Matthew 6. This is how we communicate with God. “God has appointed prayer as his way of dispensing, and our way of obtaining all promised good.” (J.B. Johnston)
If someone does not know how or what to pray, Christ gave us the Lord’s Prayer to help us along. But there is an important aspect that many people ignore, or perhaps do not even know about: listening. The Holy Spirit will speak to us. If nothing else, He will let us know He is there; He will give us knowledge of God and His love for us that we really cannot get any other way.
And if we have questions, if we are confused or angry or depressed, we will understand (sooner or later) a direct answer from God, if we create the time and place to hear it. God's voice must be invited. We must pray our love for Him; for as Christ taught the apostles, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.”
Do not expect to hear an actual voice saying words, for the communication of the Spirit is quieter and stiller than sound; we receive a sense of His presence that is neither words nor emotions, but a unique spiritual experience. How much better off the world would be, if everyone took some time every day to pray in private and listen for God's guidance.
Lord God, I love you above all else, and pray for you to be with me and guide me in all things. Amen.
~ Mason Barge
Editor, Daily Prayer