Friday, April 13, 2018
Making Time to Be Quiet
In review of Matthew 6:6 it says, “Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace” (The Message).
But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you. (NLT)
In Matthew 6:5-6 Jesus tells his disciples and myself about prayer. When I pray, I shouldn’t be like a hypocrite who wants to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. Being seen is the only reward they will ever get. So, when I pray, I am to go away by myself, shut the door behind me, and pray to my Father in private. Then the Father, who sees everything, will reward me.
Jesus points out that some, especially the religious leaders of the time, wanted to be seen as "holy," and public prayer was one way to get attention. Jesus saw through their self-righteous acts, however, and taught that the essence of prayer is not public style but private communication with God. There is a place for public prayer, but to pray only when others will notice you and you’re trying to make yourself look good, indicates that the real audience is not God.
In these two verses Jesus was drawing attention to the motives behind actions. The point really wasn't a choice between public and private prayer but between heartfelt and hypocritical prayer. When I do pray in public, the focus needs to be on addressing God, not on how I’m coming across to others.
Jesus also indicates that it’s also important to be quiet and not distracted. Jesus even mentions find a secluded place where I won’t get distracted. What I’m learning is that God isn’t going to speak to me if my life is filled with a bunch of noise. I’ve got to get alone, and I’ve got to get quiet. This is called a quiet time.
Jesus says it like this in Matthew 6:6: “Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace” (The Message).
The key to hearing God speak and getting his vision for your life is the notion that: God wants to meet with me.
I need to realize I’m not waiting on God; he’s waiting on me. God made me to have a relationship with him. He wants me to spend time with him on a daily basis. He wants me to schedule a date with him every day. God is waiting!
Getting alone in a quiet place is pretty difficult today. I don’t know if you realize how much noise there is in your life. You’ve always got the radio on in the car or you’ve got earbuds in or Bluetooth turned on. Every waiting room, grocery store, and elevator has music. There’s very little time or space in your life that’s absolutely quiet.
Don’t pray just to show off or make yourself look good. Be quiet and take to focus off yourself and direct it toward God. Sense the Grace he provides.
What this means to me:
When I pray, I should find a quiet place to pray, so that I won’t be tempted to just role-play or try to look good in front of others. Just be myself with my focus toward God and not myself or what others think. When I focus on him, I can sense the grace he provides.
I’m in a fairly routine habit of spending time getting into and studying God’s Word. I journal though these entries what I’m learning and my next steps. I do realize that I’m not in a really quiet environment when I do this (lately I’ve be spending my daily time at Panera - which is at least quieter and more comfortable than Starbucks,) but I do try to concentrate. My daily weekday time with God really helps to shape my perspective for the day. I’m reminded today that God is waiting on me to meet with him. I do need to incorporate more prayer into my time.
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