But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. (Mat 6:6)
In a previous post, we looked at Jesus’ command of secret prayer to an invisible God. We are to avoid doing our religious practices to be seen of men.
The inner room, this geographical location, should be a location not to be seen of men (6:5). The contrast is compared to standing and praying in the synagogue (among gathered people) or on the street corner.
The inner room should be a place of privacy (go & close the door). The Greek term is used in various forms in the New Testament (Mat 6:6; 24:26; Luk 12:3, 24) and in the LXX (Exo 8:3; Jud 3:24; 15:1; 16:12; 2 Chr 18:24; Pro 20:21; 24:4; 26:22). It is translated in the NASB, bedroom (Exo 8:3; Jud 15:1), cool room (Jud 3:24; probably a bathroom), inner room (Jud 16:18; 2 Chr 18:24; Mat 6:6; 24:26; Luk 12:3), inner part (Pro 20:21), rooms (Pro 24:4), innermost part (Pro 26:28), and storeroom (Luk 12:24). The inner room is a place for keeping valuables or an interior room in a home (BDAG). In other words, it is not to be a frequented location.
We are to shut your door. The verb carries the idea of locking or barring the door. Once you enter this retired place – pray to your Father. In other words, pray. Praying is the business of the hour and the prayers do not have to be lengthy. People suppose that the longer one prays, the more “spiritual” that person. However, this is not always the case.
Lengthy, repetitious praying does not cause God to hear us. This is incorrect and is illustrated from Mat 6:9-11 in our NASB. Six requests are in the model prayer with a thankful conclusion. Six categories of need are prayed in approximately 68 words and 30 seconds! Surely, every believer can get private to pray for 30 seconds?
1. Praying for the sanctification of God’s Name takes 10 words.
2. Praying for the coming of God’s kingdom takes 3 words.
3. Praying for God’s will to be accomplished takes 11 words.
4. Praying for our daily food takes 7 words.
5. Praying for forgiveness takes 12 words.
6. Praying for deliverance from evil takes 12 words.
7. Praying a thankful closing takes 13 words.
Our Lord is not a reluctant prayer-answering Lord. He already knows our need. To be rewarded with answered prayer is not an exercise in sweat in order to get His ear. I am the Lord that answers prayer (1 Pet 3:12).
— for the exhortation at our midweek prayer meeting, see sermonaudio.