November 21, 2017

Shut Your Door (Part Two)

Disable the Distractions that Destroy Your Time with God

Rand Hummel

Part One is here.

Summarizing Part One:

1 But you . . .

    God wants to hear from you!

2 . . .when you pray . . .

    God assumes that you want to talk to Him!

3 . . . enter into your closet . . .

    Have a set place and a set time that you meet with God.
    Part Two:

But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. Matthew 6:6

4 . . . and shut the door . . .
    Shut the door! Babies are crying. Shut the door! Fox News is blaring. Shut the door! FL2013.1.previewThe beeps, buzzes, and rings of incoming calls, texts, and e-mails are begging for your attention. Shut the door! If you truly want to hear the still small voice of our Lord, shut the door! In Jesus’ day, the distractions were quite different than today—donkeys braying, camels snorting, street vendors hocking their wares, and large families sharing their tiny living quarters with guests and even animals. Whether it is donkeys, doorbells, camels, or cells, distractions are distracting and totally destroy serious, one-on-one communication with God.

    Think about the distractions that you normally deal with.

    Noise
    People
    Conversations
    TV/Internet news
    E-mails
    Texts
    Phone calls

    Schedule demands
    Pop-ups
    Falling asleep
    Disorderliness
    Temperature
    Family members
    Interruptions

    Travel Plans
    Facebook
    Cluttered surroundings
    Cold Coffee
    Twitter
    Blogs

Most of these distractions can be eliminated with the combination of disciplined creativity and good old common sense. During your designated time with God, disable your Internet, turn off your cell phone, use noise-reducing headphones, play meditative orchestral music in the background, organize your “closet” so your glasses, study tools, notebooks, and commentaries are readily available, get to bed earlier, schedule a specific time in later morning to deal with your schedule, and keep your coffee hot with a cup warmer! In other words, “shut the door” so these external distractions stay out of your closet.

Of course, there are some distractions that cannot be kept out of the closet. I am speaking of the distractions that dwell in your heart and mind. These are much more difficult to deal with than the list above. When the heart distractions are not dealt with properly, your devotional life becomes static, robotic, and a mere duty rather than devotion. You spend time with God because you have to and not because you want to. Your quiet time becomes a chore on your daily check-off list rather than the most special, precious hour of your day. We forget sometimes that if we are not right with men, we are not right with God (Matt. 6:14, 15); if we regard or cherish iniquity and sin in our hearts we limit our fellowship with God (Ps. 66:18); if we refuse to forgive those who have wronged us and sinned against us we cannot approach God with confidence (Mark 11:25); if we live with immoral minds, filthy hearts, and unholy hands we cannot pray affectively (1 Tim. 2:8). We want to prepare our surroundings to achieve the greatest efficiency by eliminating clutter—not only in our closets, but also in our hearts. We need to “shut the door” to keep all distractions, both those from without and those from within, from destroying our daily fellowship with our wonderful Lord.

Shut the door to everything that distracts you when you are talking to God.

5 . . . and pray privately to your Father who is in secret.

Many of us reading this article pray in public (it is part of our jobs), but do we pray in private? For you pastors, if everyone in your congregation were as faithful in their private prayer lives as you, would you be pleased? Do you pray, or do others just assume that you pray? Are we really practicing what we preach? Do we pray without ceasing? Have we seen the “much availing” of effectual, fervent prayer in our own lives? Do we ask, seek, and knock with diligent, unrelenting importunity? Do we watch and pray so we don’t enter into temptation? Do we pray and not faint? Have we ever gone to a mountain and prayed all night? How often do we follow the pattern set in the Lord ’s Prayer? Do we honestly and fervently pray one for another? Do we pray for our government leaders? Do we pray for our enemies and those who despitefully use us? Do we practice what we preach and pray in private and not just in public?

I, for one, am convicted even as I write. I can study for hours with undistracted intensity, but struggle to keep my focus while in prayer. Private prayer is hard work. Private prayer takes intense concentration which is a result of the simple fact that we are actually talking to God. God! The God who created the universe, the God who holds creation together with His hand, the God whose omnipotence and omniscience is unparalleled—God! If we were as distracted in our conversations with friends and family as we are with God, our family and friends would either think we were rude or just plain uninterested in them. Have you ever wondered what God thinks when we fall asleep while talking to Him?

Praying to God in secret refers to the secrecy of praying where we cannot be seen by others. It is not a show. It is not a test of spirituality. It is just talking to God when no one knows or needs to know. You and God have a secret between the two of you. Your secret is bound up in the verse we are meditating on in this article: “But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly” (Matt. 6:6).

Keep your time with God a secret. Don’t let your world of distractions know when and where you meet with God every day.

Keep your secret between just you and God and enjoy uninterrupted and undistracted fellowship with your loving Heavenly Father.

God wants to hear from YOU!

God assumes that you want to talk to Him.

Have a set place and a set time that you meet with God.

Shut the door to everything that distracts you when you are talking to God.

Keep your secret between just you and God and enjoy uninterrupted and undistracted fellowship with your loving Heavenly Father.


Rand Hummel is the director of The Wilds of New England located in the peaceful, rural setting of Deering, New Hampshire. Each year he ministers to thousands of teenagers and their families. He has dedicated his life to encourage all ages “to hate sin and love God more.”

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