A few months ago (yes, I’m a slow reader), I picked up a book called Prayer, Does It Make Any Difference? by Philip Yancey.
I have to say, this book has a LOT of golden nuggets and I thought that every now and again, I’d share some of them with you.
I’ve often had people ask me “Will you pray for …….?” I always say yes as I feel prayer is powerful. And yet, in the pit of my stomach, I’ve sometimes wondered if some of my prayers are lost in the air above my head.
It’s not that I don’t believe in God ~ no, not at all. He has expressed Himself to me in so many ways. But sometimes, when prayers don’t appear to be answered, I wonder what happened. Did I lose the connection somehow?
And so … this book was/is quite appropriate for those types of moments in my life.
One of the very first golden nuggets I ran into was something I had never thought of:
There were no closets in Jesus’ day. So ~ why did Jesus (in the King James version of the Bible) instruct us to pray in our closets?
“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.” Matthew 6:6
Different versions of the Bible use “go to your room and close the door” or “go away by yourself and close the door behind you.”
The original Hebrew word for closet here means a storage chamber or a secret room. So, the KJV is not quite as accurate as it should be.
Jesus’ main concern here was that people were praying in public to show off. And people can have a tendency to do that when asked to pray publicly. Perhaps they feel pressured to say the “right” words or not to forget to say something.
Sometimes when I’m at church and I hear really long prayers I wonder why they have to be so long and my thoughts trail off into something else. Has that ever happened to you?
Our prayers should express the relationship we have with God so that it can free us to pray with people and for people. More often than not though, we need to have more one-on-one intimate conversations (prayers) with God as those are the times when our relationship with Him can grow the best.
I find that when I have the radio on in the background, I can’t “hear” God as well as if it’s quiet with absolutely no distractions. What works best for you?
So ~ have you had all of your prayers answered? I know I have even though sometimes it doesn’t “feel” that way. Yet I’ve learned that we can’t trust our feelings all the time. Sometimes the answer will be no, other times yes and still other times God asks us to wait. But each time, if I’m patient, I know He has made the best decision for me.
So, find your “closet” and pray. He’s definitely listening.
Japanese Garden, MN