Jesus Encourages An Atmosphere Of Solitude
Matthew 6:6. “But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.”
Preceding this directive is the revealing of the way of the hypocrites.
When alms and donations are given, it is with great fanfare and the drawing of attention to themselves. What fine individuals to give so generously! Yes, look at that plaque on the hospital wall with Dr. A’s name on it. How generous of him to pay for this whole unit! The ego is induced to untie its purse strings and give – as long as it can be noticed and adored by men, especially if this is a store front for the other questionable activities going on in the back room. The ego / false self loves to play God.
I’m not saying this is always the case. But one has to wonder how much of this philanthropic generosity would be embraced if donating were required to be anonymous, or there were no tax breaks or write-offs for it.
Praying is done on street corners and houses of worship in order to be seen by others. The motivations are essentially the same as for the giving of alms or even huge sums of money. Nothing like religious ego. Hey, look at us! Our family bows its head to pray in a public restaurant.
Oh, did I step on some toes here? Certainly there is nothing wrong with praying out in the open, but we do well to examine our real motivations for doing so.
But what is Jesus’ approach? No ifs, ands or buts about it. It’s essentially a clear command: “Thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret.” Pray to thy Father in secret. That means in solitude. Our Father respects our right to privacy and our right to remain silent!
He shows us that we ought to enter into our “closet”. Could we look upon this as that same secret place where Mary pondered and treasured things – in the Innermost Being, the Heart?
Apparently, our Heavenly Father really likes one on ones, like over that quiet cup of Joe with you in the morning, or the deep intense talks late into the night, where you know you’ve made contact with His Mind over matters, and you have the answers you seek.