…when you pray, go into your room… Matthew 6:6
When Jesus teaches about the ‘inner room’ He does not mean our bedroom! While we are wise to choose a quiet spot to pray, many people will not actually find a ‘room’ with a door to close. In wealthy people’s homes this may be easy, but in the homes of the poor it is not, and it was to poor people that Jesus was speaking. When Jesus says, ‘Go to your Father in the secret place’, He is referring to our God-given ability to enter God’s direct, living Presence. This is not just a mental attitude or the exercise of our imagination – it is real. The Holy Spirit is the inner place, and we ourselves have within us something that is best described as a ‘room’. The Tabernacle, with its outer court, Holy Place and Most Holy Place, is a picture of our outer body, soul, and inner sanctuary of the heart or spirit. Jesus Himself ‘tabernacled’ among us – John 1:14 – the Greek for “dwelt”. Jesus had the ‘inner room’ that no-one saw or entered while He was on earth. When we enter the secret place, we surrender ourselves to the Holy Spirit, we are filled with God’s living Presence, and we begin to pray in the Spirit. It is this act of surrender by faith that is the foundation of Jesus’ teaching on the life of prayer. To know God’s Presence is to taste the fountain of eternal life, and the effect can be overwhelming, most of all because it frees us from mere pleasure-seeking. God’s Presence purifies and ennobles our hearts, freeing us from self and making us true liberated worshippers of God.
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