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I am a big believer in the importance of spending time alone with God in the “secret place.” Jesus taught this about prayer: “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” (Matthew 6:6).
Jesus was teaching that prayer is not something we do to impress others but to spend time alone with our Father in heaven. He was certainly not teaching against public and corporate prayer as there is great significance of these throughout the Scriptures. But at the heart of prayer is the concept of being alone with God in secret.
The secret place of personal devotion should always be our primary source of spiritual growth: worshipping the Lord, waiting on Him in quiet, reading and meditating on the Scriptures, interceding and praying, and other ways of seeking and knowing God. Corporate gatherings are very important, small groups can be hugely helpful, books are great, and conferences can be life-changing. But there is simply no substitute for the secret place.
Growing in Relationship with God
If we are to grow in our relationship with the Lord, we must prioritize time alone with Him. Bearing fruit requires having roots; and the roots are the part of the tree that is unseen. When we spend time in the secret place, our roots are going deeper which prepares us for greater fruitfulness. Psalm 1:3 says that the person who regularly meditates on the Word will be “like a tree planted by the waters, that brings forth its fruit in season.”
Fruitfulness in the Christian life is born out of intimacy with God; and intimacy requires time in the secret place. This was the pattern of Jesus’ ministry. The Bible says that He “often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed” (Luke 5:16). Though the crowds were gathering around Him to hear His teaching and receive His healing touch, Jesus would get away from the multitudes to be alone with God. As the demands for His time and attention increased, He intentionally got away to be with the Father.
This is a significant lesson for us. An expanding public influence with a shrinking private devotion is a recipe for disaster. If we are not careful, the busyness of life, ministry, or work can pull us away from this necessary time with the Lord. And regardless of our place of ministry or influence, the call to the secret place is for all believers. It is a privilege to spend time alone with God, and one that we should take delight in. If we will make knowing God our highest priority, we will make the secret place a non-negotiable in our lives.
How about you? Are you making the time to get alone with God? If you miss this, you are missing the key to a true relationship with the Lord and genuine fruitfulness for His kingdom. Pursue the Lord in prayer, not out of religious duty, but out of a desire to know God and be alone with Him. Make the time to be in the secret place; you will never regret it!