The Prayer Closet
[00:00:00] Opening prayer Lord our relationship with you as your children is so very very important to you. Because you desire our communion our fellowship with you and you desire to speak to us through your word. So long as we look at this this topic this subject I just pray that you would help us grasp the importance of having a time alone with you every day so that we might grow by it and glorify you in our lives. And I pray this in Jesus name Amen.
[00:00:46] We are here still in the Sermon on the Mount.
[00:00:50] And as you’ve heard you’ve seen numerous times how Jesus is confronting the religious leaders about their hypocrisy about how they have changed the laws they made their own laws and stuff. And
[00:01:05] we got to the point here where he was talking about giving and then praying and he confronted the religious leaders in that instead of being like them who would go out and draw attention to themselves and praying in the public and everything in Matthew chapter 6 starting in verse 6 Jesus says. But when you pray go into your room. And shut the door and pray to your father who is in secret and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. And when you pray do not keep up empty phrases as a Gentile do for they think that they will be heard for their many words do not be like them for your father knows what you need before you ask him. So Jesus tells us that we are to go into our room. And shut the door in the New American Standard Version to go into your inner room.
[00:02:18] In the Amplified Bible.
[00:02:21] It says to go into your most private room. So what Jesus is saying here is that while some people call it a prayer clause it may be a secret closet or secret room or as in the popular Christian film.
[00:02:43] In the last year or so called The War Room where spiritual warfare goes on as we pray against the schemes of the devil and and ask God to build in our lives.
[00:03:02] The character into the image conforming us into the image of His Son. So whatever you call it it’s a place where God calls you to have a meeting with him. Now that meeting that he desires to have sometimes is described as a quiet time the holy hour. Some call it devotions. But whatever you call it it’s a place that God wants to meet with you. It’s a quiet place. It’s a place that you get away from all the distractions of the world. So you can reflect. And you can meditate on the Word of God and communicate with him with with no interruptions. Now some of you mothers with younger children says What is that.
[00:04:04] A quiet time quiet place with no interruptions.
[00:04:10] I have had mothers tell me that that place is only when they locked themselves into the bathroom and even then there is knocking at the door my. Mom.
[00:04:24] I’m not saying that it is easy for some. To find a quiet place or a quiet time but that is what God would desire that we do. And this morning I want to look at four things I want to look at the priority of a devotional life.
[00:04:51] I want to look at the purpose of a devotional life. The practice of a devotional life and the place of prayer in your devotional life.
[00:05:06] Now this is for all believers and parents but let me just say this before we begin. This is something that you need to do with your children. This is something that you need to teach your children by example. And by instruction if they do not start.
[00:05:33] Matter of fact if they were to start.
[00:05:40] Taking time and even in just the simplest way of having the time alone that they get alone. And read scripture and pray their little prayers and they make it a habit in their lives.
[00:05:58] I cannot tell you how God will use that. Throughout their lives. And believe me you will want that to be a habit in your children’s life.
[00:06:11] When they get into their preteen years and their teen years and after that that’s what we desire to do in a oneness.
[00:06:21] That’s what we desire to do in vacation bible school is to get children in the Word of God and there is nothing more important to.
[00:06:32] Them by example parents.
[00:06:35] You find the time some sometime during the day to set aside. For just you and the Lord.
[00:06:43] So by example and then instruction teaching your children whatever age they may be whether they are young now or they are teenagers now to help them develop.
[00:06:58] A quiet time a quiet place that they might fellowship from the war with the Lord and be of the word of God.
[00:07:05] So just look at the first. Priority of a devotional life. Even in the midst of his his tremendous busy days hectic days.
[00:07:20] It says in scripture that Jesus would withdraw from the people to a lonely place at times and pray sometimes all night praying to his father. The Psalmist David.
[00:07:40] King David. He was. A king. He was a shepherd. He was a songwriter. He was a musician. He was a military strategist. And there are many things that he did well.
[00:08:01] But this is what he said. There’s one thing I asked of the Lord and that I will seek after we find it in Psalm 27 For one thing David. And this is what was important to him he says one thing I have asked from the Lord that I shall see that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.
[00:08:29] To behold the beauty of the Lord and to meditate in his temple to live in God’s presence to look on his beauty to learn from him. David says. That is why it matters to me the most anything else. So why what why is it so important to have a daily devotion time.
[00:08:53] Why should we make that a priority when one.
[00:08:59] Is because of the benefits we derive from meeting with the Lord and communion with Him. Number one it when we’re talking about this. It’s a two way communication. God speaks to us through His Word. So when we get alone with God one of the things we need to do is to make sure that being the Word of God is a priority.
[00:09:26] Every day and then as we meditate on the Word of God the scripture talks about. God speaks to us from his word and in prayer we speak to God.
[00:09:42] Psalm 199 says how could a young man see his way pure. By keeping it according to your word. Psalm 119 verse 11 your word. Have I razored in my heart. That I might not sin against you being in God’s Word.
[00:10:04] When we praise your gods in our hearts when you are obedient to the word of God.
[00:10:10] Keep us away from sin if you have. We have about here.
[00:10:18] New American Standard Bible. We were replacing some of the old ones with ESV Bibles.
[00:10:23] I happened to be back towards the back of the auditorium that night and I opened up the Bible and you’ll see in the front of the Bible at why look that we have a stamp there.
[00:10:35] Said this has been placed here by the fringes. Bertrand biometrics. If you do not have a Bible please take this Bible with you and at the bottom of that front page it says that this word will keep you.
[00:10:49] This Bible will keep you from sin. Or sin will keep you from this Bible.
[00:10:58] Because that’s what happens see. Scripture tells us that the Word of God is like a mirror.
[00:11:05] That was that we’re we are in the Word of God when we are reading it when we are meditating on it. It’s like a mirror and it flows.
[00:11:15] What we’re like who we are now I don’t know about you. But every morning I wake up and I like trying not to do that anymore. Now I look in the mirror I go.
[00:11:28] Wow who’s that guy.
[00:11:34] That’s the word of God says. But it just doesn’t look at the outward appearance.
[00:11:38] It says that the Word of God is sharper than any two edged sword and that even why that even exposes our motives and that’s why some people do not like reading the Word of God because it exposes who we are inside and who wants to know that.
[00:11:59] Will we should.
[00:12:01] Because what that does is when God exposes our inner most secrets and sins it should cause us to want to have a right relationship with God so that we might confess our sins repent of those sins.
[00:12:19] So when we’re in our prayer closet when we are having our devotion time we need to have the Word of God as being part of that.
[00:12:29] When I. Struggle in my spiritual life.
[00:12:35] And I look back at those struggles.
[00:12:38] Many times I find that I’m struggling spiritually. Because I’m having no quiet time. Now I think the word.
[00:12:50] Reading researching looking up words in preparation for Sunday School classes.
[00:12:57] Preaching. Beset us. But to set aside a time only for my own spiritual growth there are times that I think I think why I just don’t have time for that today.
[00:13:13] That’s a lie.
[00:13:16] I mean yes many of us were very very busy parents. Moms dads work other responsibilities.
[00:13:26] But it seems as if. We do have time. To eat and to do other things and we need to be partaking.
[00:13:37] Eating the bread of life here.
[00:13:41] So what’s the purpose of a devotional life. First. Fellowship with the Father. God desires to talk to us through His Word and in fellowship with us. So one of the purposes is fellowship with the Father. John 4:23 said. But. An hour is coming and now is when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth for such people the father seeks to be his worshippers. So God allows us to come. To him by way of the shed blood of Jesus Christ.
[00:14:19] Remember how when Jesus was crucified that the veil of the temple was split in the top the bottom because the sacrifice of the Lamb of God opened up our direct access to God the Father were before. Priest had to go in on our behalf. But now because of the shed blood of Jesus Christ we have direct access to the Word of God another purpose Secondly his spiritual growth. The quiet time gives us an opportunity for Bible study and prayer. Second Peter 3:18 says but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to him be the glory both down forever.
[00:15:07] How are we going to grow spiritually.
[00:15:10] Hebrews tells us by practice by the practice of being in the Word of God. Practice isn’t just reading practice. We mature spiritually when we read it the Word of God obeys the Word of God and the practice of having That is a part of our life causes us to mature spiritually and to be able to discern good and evil.
[00:15:36] Thirdly it gives us strength for the day many many bad days.
[00:15:42] People have and then they realize that the result of some bad days is because they aren’t getting along with God.
[00:15:50] Jesus said in relation to anxieties do not worry about tomorrow. For tomorrow is going to take care of itself. And listen listen what he says he says.
[00:16:02] Each day has enough trouble of it’s own. Don’t worry about tomorrow. We have enough to deal with today. Now Scripture tells us that God’s grace is sufficient for all Nene’s but the grace that he gives us for what we’re going through right now he gives us great to go through anything. Jesus says don’t worry about tomorrow. He gives us the grace to go through what’s a day.
[00:16:34] The Moody said a man can no more take in a supply of grace for the future than he can eat enough for the next six months or take sufficient air into his lungs. At one time to sustain life for we we must draw upon God’s.
[00:16:57] Boundless store of grace from day to day as we needed. You
[00:17:06] can’t eat enough today to sustain you for a month. And God gives grace he gives grace sufficient grace for today. Fourthly
[00:17:18] purpose is purification of my heart and my life. I quoted earlier what David’s desire was to have a pure heart. Listen to what else he writes and Psalm 139.
[00:17:32] Starting in verse 23 he says. Search for me O God. And know my heart try me and know my anxious thoughts and see if there is any hurtful way in me and lead me in the everlasting way.
[00:17:52] So one of the purposes of having a devotional life a daily time with God is the purification of my heart life for for us to say to God. God search my heart. Is there anything. Is there anything at all in my life that’s hindering our fellowship.
[00:18:16] And how does God answer us back right here when we say God search my heart he says OK get into my work. And you will find here exactly what I tell you to do. How to respond how to love. How to forgive. So one of the purposes is for the cleansing the exposing of sin in our lives that we might get right with God.
[00:18:54] Fifthly the purpose of a daily quiet time is for the restoration of my soul. Psalm 19 verse 7 says the law of the Lord is perfect restoring the soul.
[00:19:11] The testimony of the Lord is sure making wise and simple the precepts of the Lord our right rejoicing the heart the commandment of the Lord is pure enlightening the by the fear of the Lord is clean enduring forever the judgments of the Lord are true. They are right just altogether. They are more desirable than gold. Yes.
[00:19:42] Then much Finegold sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover. By them your servant is warned in keeping them. There is great reward when we read that last verse again. Moreover by them while.
[00:20:04] Your servant is warned and in keeping them. There is great reward.
[00:20:11] You see apart from obedience a daily quiet time in the word is nothing but a religious right. I know people who brag of what they’re up at five o’clock every morning and the word of God. But their life testimony is anything but obedient to that word. Yes. It warns them.
[00:20:36] But in keeping them there is great reward. And then six and last.
[00:20:43] Another purpose.
[00:20:45] Is that we receive direction for our lives through his word. Someone 91 0 5 says. Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
[00:21:03] It tells us how to live.
[00:21:06] Second Timothy 3:16 For for all Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for doctrine reproof for correction for instruction in righteousness.
[00:21:18] We are indeed to be in the word.
[00:21:23] Every single day. And not just read it but take it to heart. Meditate on it. Obey it.
[00:21:36] So just look at the practice of a devotional life. The time.
[00:21:45] There needs to be a quiet time. Right.
[00:21:49] Time. It should be regular. It would be really nice if you can have a fixed time. Now.
[00:21:55] Now when there is no law about when you have to have a quiet time. Now there is cryptical value evidence to suggest. That those who get up in the morning the first thing they do is very profitable.
[00:22:15] To have a quiet time in the morning if you can. Psalm 88 13 says but I O Lord have cried out to you for help and in the morning my prayer comes before you and in Psalm 5 3 it says in the morning O Lord you will hear my voice in the morning I will order my prayer to you and eagerly watch.
[00:22:38] And so some people may say that’s the only time you can have devotion you gotta get up early. And you got to be on your knees and be in the world.
[00:22:49] There is value to that and value in that when you start your day in the Word of God and it gives you direction and it gives you greater than you know and all of this it is very profitable.
[00:23:02] But. We don’t want to be a legal mistake here.
[00:23:08] Well I’m not a morning person I can think of later in the day and night let let me tell you. See because the enemy works in two different ways. Number one just plain old do not adhere to it at all. And then the enemy can work in a legal Lisick way. Well the only time you can have this is in the morning and the end you struggle. They say well just forget it. I’m not going to happen at all. The enemy would love that. With say the best time of day.
[00:23:40] The quietest time of day is when you get the kids put in bed and it’s at night.
[00:23:49] Wow that’s great then. Then had your devotions that night. See.
[00:23:55] Yes it might be profitable having the morning.
[00:23:58] I don’t want to make you think that it’s not. But but if the best time for you is in the evening it’s the best time for you is nearing the day.
[00:24:09] What ever the best time of the day is.
[00:24:14] See it’s not the timing of the day. It’s doing it.
[00:24:19] So what ever part of the day is best for you and maybe because of your schedule one day maybe early one day maybe midday one day or maybe in the evening.
[00:24:32] It’s not the timing it’s the doing of OK. So understand that doing that.
[00:24:41] Being in the world Word me away from all the distractions of the we’re all so you have a quiet time.
[00:24:53] That you can meditate on the word of God. See that’s what’s important.
[00:24:59] The place it does need to be a quiet place is quiet as you can a place you can get away from the distractions of the world.
[00:25:09] That’s the best sometimes that’s not as easy as some might think.
[00:25:15] And then another let Lilly speak of journaling.
[00:25:20] There is a lot of value in journaling that is writing down things that God speaks to you from His Word. If you’re reading certain passages and a thought comes your mind of how to obey that passage or maybe issue in your life God is trying to address.
[00:25:45] Write that down. Journal. It’s just between you and God.
[00:25:49] You know. Write down.
[00:25:52] Prayer request so you have a place to go back later and say oh and be able to write the Answered prayers kind of answered this in this way some people have just a prayer journal where all they lists are their prayer requests praying for other people intercessory prayer all that and then they have a place to write how God answered that prayer.
[00:26:18] So certainly when you meditate on the word it’s important to write down what God has shown you in His Word and then fourth and last Lastly look at the place of prayer in our devotional life. See prayer is drawing close to God as James says it’s it’s it’s an opening of our hearts to God and and to many times we think of prayer as something we do and we think I’ve got to pray.
[00:26:54] I think it would be better.
[00:26:56] If we think of prayer not is something we do but as a relationship we have you know if you’re married talking to your spouse I mean it is something we do.
[00:27:17] But you get up in the morning and think I got to talk to my spouse today no we have a relationship as part of that relationship we have is talking sometimes the relationship we have with our spouse is listening to that you know people like me who talk a lot probably would do good.
[00:27:52] To listen more. Is that not what the quiet time is all about.
[00:28:00] Yes we talk to God. And so many times where we just tell them this is what I need and what I need.
[00:28:06] This is what I mean.
[00:28:09] Maybe it would do us good to listen more. Get into his word. Meditate on His word.
[00:28:20] And listen from his word what he has to tell us Hebrew 10 sets forth really the basis and the methods of drawing near to God. Hebrews 10 story in verse 19 says therefore brother and since we have confidence to enter the holy place.
[00:28:42] By the blood of Jesus by a new and living way in which he inaugurated for us through the veil that is his flesh.
[00:28:51] And since we have a great priest over the house of God what is to say what that.
[00:28:57] Let us drawn near with a sincere heart.
[00:29:04] In full assurance of faith having our hearts sprinkled. Clean from an evil conscience and our bodies wash with pure water. And other place in Hebrews 4:16 says Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in the time of need.
[00:29:30] And the Greek word there translated in the time of need literally means in the nick of time.
[00:29:39] Because of what Jesus did on the cross of Calvary. We can go boldly my God said Come boldly. He never said that in the old testament it was a high priest that went before God. Now he is telling all of us all his children those who are believers to come boldly and with confidence before his throne that we might receive what grace and mercy in the very nick of time.
[00:30:09] This Listen some elements.
[00:30:11] Let me share some elements with you that we might. Contain or might have in our prayers. Number one maybe should be the first is confession first John 1 9 says if we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
[00:30:32] We need to cleanse the slate.
[00:30:36] We need to keep short sinless we need to allow the word of God to examine our hearts and say God is or any hurtful way in me.
[00:30:47] I need to clean the slate. I need to know so I can be right with you.
[00:30:54] And we do that by confessing. Confession means you agree with God we agree with God on the sinfulness of what we do.
[00:31:03] We agree with God that we need this cleansing in soaked in fashion. Another thing is worship and adoration.
[00:31:14] Psalm 95 says Oh come let us sing for joy to the Lord and let us shout joyfully to the rock of our salvation. Let us. Come before his presence with thanksgiving. Let us shout joyfully to him with Psalms. Let us worship and bow down let us kneel before the Lord our maker and in Psalm 29 It says a scribe to the Lord the glory due to his name. Worship the Lord in holy array.
[00:31:50] Another thing.
[00:31:52] We need to have in our prayer is praise and thanksgiving praise the Lord Praise God in the sanctuary.
[00:31:58] Praise Him in His mighty friends praise him for his mighty deeds praise him according to his excellent greatness. Praise him with the trumpet praise him with the harp and lyre praise him with loud symbols and everything that has breath. Praise the Lord.
[00:32:15] Why can’t you praise God for for your life for your family for whom he is for him working in our lives praising and thanking God.
[00:32:31] And then another aspect of prayer is intercession.
[00:32:38] A time when when we bring people and activities before the Lord that he has laid on our hearts. Your spouse.
[00:32:50] Your family pastor missionaries church leaders Ephesians 6 verse 18 and 20 says with all prayer and petition pray at all times in the spirit. And with this interview beyond the alert with all perseverance a petition for the Saints and pray on my behalf.
[00:33:15] Paul says that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth to make known with this the mystery of the gospel for which I am an ambassador in chains. In proclaiming it I may speak boldly as I thought to be prayed for the church body.
[00:33:37] Pray for our government leaders the president governors Congress first Timothy 2:01 said.
[00:33:44] First of all then I urge that entreaties and prayers petitions and Thanksgiving and thanksgivings be made on behalf of all men for kings and all who are in authority so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.
[00:34:07] Pray for our government leaders those who have authority over us judges courts and then pray for ourselves.
[00:34:19] What do we need spiritually speaking first.
[00:34:24] What do we need from God spiritually. What do we need. How do we need him to work in our lives.
[00:34:34] There are some here.
[00:34:38] Who probably have a very consistent quiet time with the Lord. There are others who may have had at one time a consistent devotional time but for one reason or another has stopped having devotion then there may be those here who really have never. Established a devotional time. It had not been a priority to you. Now. There on the back tables in the four years I have number of resources how to pray for revival. For women praying for your husband and yourself praying for your grandchild. Any of you here have grandchildren. I have a little brochure a little. Bookmarking stuff how to pray for your grandchildren out there.
[00:35:37] How to Pray for your pastor. I can’t tell you how important that is.
[00:35:41] I covet your prayers and we have a little handout out there little book mark how to pray for your passes 31 days in your bulletins here.
[00:35:50] This is just something very simple Now I don’t use a written prayer list like this but one on one I have here for you is what I have on my phone and my computer a prayer journal and I have each day like one day I’ll pray for revival and other day I will pray for church members another day I pray all is for my family another day for it for unbelievers and then beyond all that here at the very end is his request.
[00:36:23] I have those people who pray who ask me will you pray for this and those I look at daily where I have a daily I pray for my family my parents my kids my spouse. I prayed pray for certain people every day and I have that as a separate list.
[00:36:40] Daily prayer requests and then I have poppycock. Now you can use this in any way you want. I like having it so I have it on my phone I have it on my laptop or any computer I have. But the thing is.
[00:36:54] We need to be praying for each other.
[00:36:57] We need to be praying for our families our kids our parents every single day.
[00:37:03] The daily bread we have daily bread is out there if you don’t know where to go what portion of Scripture to read.
[00:37:11] That is an excellent way to start. It has a little devotional stop.
[00:37:16] It has a little one or two verses of scripture. There are ads here on the tables. If you don’t have one even if you have a quiet time energy and a plan and you’re consistent.
[00:37:29] The daily bread will bring examples and illustrations to you that you may have never thought of.
[00:37:36] So we have the daily bread out there and and you know.
[00:37:39] I know it takes about 30 days of doing something to make it a habit. Now I’m not going to ask you to commit to 30 days of having a devotion every single day.
[00:37:53] Because if you’re like me I might make these lofty goals that really. Are very unattainable. So what I’m asking you. Will you commit.
[00:38:10] To seven days. Seven days we’re going to start with seven days. OK. Now I wouldn’t be surprised if next week Pastor comes and says Hey. You think we can do it for another seven days here. But right now this is all I’m asking you to do. Seven days in a row starting tomorrow now.
[00:38:32] Now watching you start praying for tomorrow Memorial Day what do you think.
[00:38:37] Maybe thanking God for those people who have given up their lives. That we might have the freedoms we have maybe praying for the families who have lost loved ones in battle that we might have the freedoms maybe thanking God.
[00:39:05] For Jesus Christ.
[00:39:07] Who die that you and I am I have eternal life.
[00:39:14] And I bet you if you think about it. There are probably many many other things that we can thank god for that we can praise God for. And the reason we don’t is we never take the time to get away in a quiet place and contemplate to think about. What do I have I can praise and thank God for seven days.
[00:39:43] Do you think. That for seven days not 30 not 14 but just let’s just start small.
[00:39:52] OK. Seven days the next seven days will you commit to being in the Word of God. Now. Can you give me a good reason. Now let me let me. Let me rephrase that. When you give God.
[00:40:10] A good reason why you cannot do this for the next seven days.
[00:40:17] Can you we are not requiring a minimum of so many minutes.
[00:40:27] We don’t want to be legal is that what we want you to do is just take a time. And find a place and get alone with God.
[00:40:38] Get into his word.
[00:40:41] Meditate on His Word and talk to him. Develop that relationship because that is what prayer is all about. Pray. Lord we.
[00:41:00] Of all people that we should want to communicate with us even more than our own spouse and our family and our kids and our friends.
[00:41:11] It should be you.
[00:41:13] Our Creator. Our Redeemer our sustainer the Great Physician.
[00:41:20] So what I know I know right now that the enemy will keep me or try to keep me and every single person here who wants to make this commitment. He will do everything in his power to keep us from doing it. But Lord I pray that our resolve would be so strong that regardless of the obstacles which I know there will be.
[00:41:48] You will help us fulfill the commitment that for the next seven days.
[00:41:54] We will be in your word. And we’ll speak to you.
[00:41:59] Will you help us do that. And I pray this in Jesus name Amen.