A prayer closet – what picture comes to your mind of your own space? A cozy corner in your bedroom, a spot in front of the sofa while the family sleeps, or the floor beside your bed? It doesn’t matter what it looks like – or if it’s a true “closet.” The important thing is that you have a space where you regularly talk to God in prayer.
What does it mean to pray? Here’s my definition –
Prayer is Humbling myself before God, recognizing that I am utterly dependent upon Him, and giving to Him the care of my life, and everything that touches it.
As I read Jonah 2:1 yesterday, the Lord reminded me that if you and I as believers (Jonah was one, too) neglect to recognize the Lord each day and run to Him for cleansing, forgiveness, guidance and power, He has a loving way of making us realize that we’re not so good at running our own lives. The verse says,
Then Jonah prayed unto the Lord his God out of the fish’s belly.
Jonah was running in disobedience to God’s command.
Jonah was the reason the storm came on the sea.
Jonah was the only one on that rocking boat that wasn’t praying!
The other men were giving feeble attempts to pray to their gods, to no avail. They woke Jonah up, and he confessed to them that His God is the Lord of the universe (a powerful storm will remind you of your omnipotent God!). The other men forsook praying to their idols, and began praying to Jonah’s God, asking for deliverance! Meanwhile, they cast Jonah out of the boat at his request.
THEN Jonah prayed unto God out of the fish’s belly. He has a new Prayer Closet! It wasn’t:
- in Ninevah’s where he was supposed to be preaching.
- on the road walking, making his way to Ninevah, while the sun shone down on his back.
- with other believers, in unity and oneness that comes in corporate prayer.
His new prayer closet was in the fish’s belly. No light. No warmth. No comforts. Just utter, complete, desperate dependence on his God! This place of prayer was really Jonah’s choice. He had lost the realization that he could do anything if he depended on God. He had failed to run to the Quiet place to seek his God’s face for courage and wisdom to obey.
Jonah’s new place to pray was in the closet of humility.
The wonderful thing is that God heard his prayer from that desperate place! Verse two tells us that the Lord heard his voice! God can humble us to make us realize we need Him so very much, but then He lovingly listens when we pour out our burdens to Him!
The choice is ours, just as it was Jonah’s. Will we make time for humble prayer in a place of our choosing, or will we ignore the need to depend on God, and end up in a humble place of God’s choosing? He loves us too much to let us go on in our proud way.
Let’s humble ourselves before Him and receive the blessing and joy a fervant prayer life brings!