The Doorway to Prayer:
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” (Revelation 3:20).
“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.” (Matthew 6:6).
Every day, our Heavenly Father gives us the wonderful invitation as His children to come to Him in worship and prayer, and to hear His word of direction and encouragement for our lives. The above Scriptures are two important truths that Jesus taught about prayer: One is about a door we need to open. The other is about a door we need to shut.
First, let’s look at the door that God wants us to open. Jesus said, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in.” Do you hear the heart of God, desiring to spend time with you? From the very first words God spoke to Adam and Eve in the first book of the Bible, “Where are you?” to the words of Jesus recorded here in Revelation, the Bible is the record of God’s seeking after a relationship with human beings. I read a book on prayer once by O Hallesby who said, “To pray is nothing more involved than to let Jesus into our needs. To pray is to give Jesus permission to employ His powers in the alleviation of our distress…To pray is nothing more involved than to lift the eye of prayer unto the Saviour who stands and knocks, yea knocks through our very need, in order to gain access to our distress, sup with us and glorify His name.”
Next, let’s look at the door that God wants us to close. When Jesus was teaching His disciples about prayer in Matthew 6, He said, “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.” Did you ever wonder why Jesus told us to shut the door? I think He was telling us to shut the door to all the many distractions in our lives that hinder us from spending time with God in prayer. I have a hard time praying in my office at the church. Why? Because I’m surrounded by work that needs to get done. As soon as I start praying, I think of dozens of pressing projects that must be finished now, and am often tempted to put off praying until I have completed the projects first. However, this is a distraction of the enemy, and that’s why Jesus says we need to find a secret place to pray where we won’t be distracted.
“If prayer is the central function of the very heart-beat of our life in God, it is obvious that our prayer life must become the target against which Satan directs his best and most numerous darts…the protest of our carnal mind against prayer is made indirectly, very cleverly, and at the opportune time…it will mobilize all the reasons it can conceive of for not praying now. You are too busy, your mind is too preoccupied, your heart is not inclined toward prayer, later on you will have more time, your mind will be more calm and collected, and you will be able to pray in a more devotional mind…The first and most decisive battle in connection with prayer is the conflict which arises when we are to make arrangements to be alone with God every day.” (Hallesby).
And so at last we have found the doorway to prayer. It is opening the door to Jesus, who longs to have fellowship with us, and shutting the door to all the distractions in our lives, to get alone until we’re not alone anymore. Today, take a few minutes before you go back to your daily routine and get alone with Jesus. You’ll be glad you did.
Pastor Chris Jordan