Secret Closet of Prayer
Guidance through Prayer…
“But 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 NIV)
Many years ago, on the Saturday night before Mother’s Day, the Lord woke me up with a clear call to pastor. I was not searching for the call but prayed He would use my life in any way He wanted with full surrender and submission to whatever that call would be. Although I knew that I would pastor a church, I was not sure where the church would be. My initial leadings seemed to be on the island of Nantucket… a small island 30 miles off the Massachusetts coast. We had vacationed there for many years and there did not seem to be a strong Spirit–Filled church on the island. As prosperous and rich the island was, God was not a priority among the yachts, Rolls Royces, 20 million dollar homes, $100,000 watches and personal jet planes that crowded the airport. However, we enjoyed our summers there and learned to vacation on Nantucket on a dime! Nantucket seemed to flow in line with God’s plan for us to begin a work. At that time, being as sure as we were, we signed up the kids for school on Nantucket, talked to teachers and started to look for homes to rent from the contacts we had there. All seemed to be progressing well… according to “my” plans.
As clear as things seemed to be, I did not have a full release yet to go. I knew I had to pray and seek God for clarity and confirmation. So I took a weekend away from my precious family and went to Nantucket to pray and seek the Lord. I stayed in Cape Cod, took the day ferry to Nantucket… and with a backpack, bible and water…I walked all over the island in prayer (Nantucket is not that vast). With the beauty of the Island, God seemed to be confirming His Word and direction with every step. I saw all the children coming home from school and envisioning a vibrant children’s church. I saw the homes of the servants and workers from other countries and envisioned outreaches to them. I saw hotel conference rooms and empty buildings that would make a good first church home. I had it all planned out!
That evening, it was time to get back on the ferry for Cape Cod. The sun was going down and the colors of the sky reflected off the water in the harbor as the dune grass and sand glowed in the Nantucket dusk. I stood on the top deck of the ferry contemplating my day and ready to bring back word to my family that Nantucket it will be! As I stood there leaning over the handrails staring at the water, God spoke! Almost audibly, God spoke! I heard God’s voice, by His Spirit, asking me if I was willing to begin a work here and if I was willing to leave everything I desired for the cause of Christ? I adamantly said of course Lord… yes! I heard His voice in my heart ask if I was willing to follow Him wherever it meant? Again, passionately I said, “yes Lord, you know I will”! And then He clearly whispered to my heart that Nantucket is not the place and that it would be the Stroudsburg area of Monroe County PA. Tears came to me eyes… not because of leaving Nantucket behind and going to PA, but because I heard His voice so clearly and so purely. All I ever wanted was His will and to hear His voice no matter what… no matter what! “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying,” this is the way, walk in it.”(Isaiah 30:21)
I came home and told my beautiful family about the direction I received and we all rejoiced and thanked God for letting us know His will, plans and purposes! The rest is history.
That day, Nantucket became my secret closet of prayer. I had to get shut in with my Lord, blocking out everything else, seeking Him and spending that time with Him. How could I do anything less with so much at stake! So much is at stake in your life as well, that’s why you need to get in that secret closet and pray. That secret closet could be anywhere you isolate yourself to… a room, a car, an area in nature, a prayer chair in front of a fireplace (my favorite), a corner of Starbucks, or wherever you can get alone… you and your God. Jesus took so many opportunities to get alone and pray. His secret closet was a “solitary place” (Mark 1:35) or a mountaintop (Matthew 14:23). I know time can be difficult, but we have time for so many other things but must make the time, or take the time to do those things that give life, direction, guidance, strength and clarity and purpose to our lives.
I’ve always said that prayer is simply talking to the one you love… and don’t you want to be with the one you love! He knows every need and desire… He knows every yesterday, today and tomorrow… and He knows you! All you need is in that secret closet of prayer. As a matter of fact, He’s waiting for you there right now!
Maybe God will allow me to get to Nantucket someday other than to vacation. I hope so… but I will find out while I’m in my secret closet of prayer right here in PA. Thank you my Jesus!