by Stephen F. OlfordThe Master Pray-er on Prayer
Text: "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" (Matt. 6:6).
Thought: In his book Power Through Prayer, E. M. Bounds says: "What the church needs today is not more machinery or better, not new organizations or more novel methods, but men whom the Holy Ghost can use-men of prayer, men mighty in prayer. The Holy Ghost does not flow through methods, but through men. He does not come on machinery, but on men. He does not anoint plans, but men-men of prayer." No wonder the Lord Jesus said so much about prayer (read vv. 5-13). Here we have:
1. The Retreat for Prayer: "When you pray, go into your room and…shut your door." Effectual, fervent praying necessitates a place of retreat and quietness. For the Master, this meant the Mount of Olives, the Garden of Gethsemane, or some other place of solitude. The world, with all its associations, attractions, or distractions, must be shut out. The man or woman of prayer must be alone.
2. The Responsibility in Prayer: "Pray to your Father..." The responsibility in prayer is to pray! That is why the Lord Jesus warned those to whom He addressed these words not to use "vain repetitions as the heathen do" (v. 7). It is recorded of Elijah that "he prayed in his prayer" (James 5:17, marginal rendering). So often we say our prayers, but never really pray.
3. The Recompense for Prayer: "Your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly." It is important to notice that the Savior does not say "Your Father who hears in secret," but rather "sees"; that is to say, He who sees the sincerity, the reality, and the fervency of our hearts is the One who recompenses. How this challenges impure motives and insincere praying! In regard to the recompense, Jesus promised, "All things, whatever you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive" (Matt. 21:22).
Lord, I have shut the door, Speak now the word
Which in the din and throng could not be heard;
Hushed now my inner heart, whisper Thy will,
While I have come apart, while all is still.
William M. Runyan