Why do we have to “close the door” when we pray?

A couple of months ago my husband and I decided to adopt/rescue an 11 year old cat that had lost its owner and ended up in the shelter. She spent months in that little box they kept her in and took quite a while to adapt to her new home. At first I thought she was just anxious and nervous because she didn’t know us. But as the weeks have gone on, she has settled down. There are two things that have not changed with her, however. She has not gained weight from her original 7 pounds, no matter how much I feed her, and she sleeps very little. Unlike our other cat, Jack, who is a total couch potato and spends his days sleeping, Penny, likes to roam the house. She hates closed doors like most cats and seems to never stop moving. No doubt it’s why she is so thin. As I sat here this morning, reading my Bible and praying, I couldn’t help but think about how distracting she is. She wants into my room, she wants out of my room. She eats, then chases Jack, then eats again. Never ending commotion. To say it is difficult to focus on the Word and spend time in prayer is an understatement. But as I persevered, the Lord brought a scripture to mind that I had never really thought much about. 

In Matthew 6:6 Jesus tells us:  “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.” Truthfully, I’ve always focused on the part about rewards, although I wasn’t really sure what He meant by all this. Well today, He opened this scripture to me in a new way and showed me what He was referring to. 

The word that is translated as “room” in this scripture is actually referring to a secret chamber. I don’t have any secret chambers in my house, but I do have a room that is quiet and free of distraction. At least it was until Penny came into our world. Before she came, I would go into my room, close the door and spend time with the Lord. It was our “secret” place, if you will. Most mornings, I had no trouble focusing on Him and the Bible. But no more. I realized that if I was going to regain my secret chamber, where I could focus on Him and Him alone, I would have to train my cat. That sounds almost funny, if you know cats. But nonetheless, if I want my peace to return to me, she needed to stay out of my room and learn not to knock. Yes, cats knock on doors. It’s quite annoying. 

As I pondered on all of this, I realized that what was happening to me, happens to all of us. This world is full of commotion, distraction and activity. We have phones, iPads, computers etc. etc. to endlessly distract us. These distractions will continue, unless we do something about them. If I cannot focus on the Lord, then I need to remove distractions from my life. It’s my responsibility to go into my secret place and shut the door. No one will do it for me. 

There is something that I have learned however, from life before Penny the cat. The Father has rewarded me over and over again, when I make the effort to be alone with Him. Because I take time to read His Word, I know His Word. When someone tries to deceive me by twisting the Word of God, I usually can spot the red flags. Because I take time to pray and to listen, I have learned what His voice sounds like. Jesus made it very clear that we are to know His voice. (John 10:27)  “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” 

There are rich rewards in knowing the Lord. But we can only receive those rewards if we take the time to be with Him and get to know Him. Just as with any relationship, this requires time and effort. If you are struggling to focus on the Lord, if you are having trouble reading His word, may I suggest that you “close the door”? Turn off the distractions, get up earlier when the world is still quiet and resolve to spend that time with the Lord. He has promised that you will be richly rewarded!

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