January 8, 2014 by Chris French
If you’ve ever heard anyone talk about prayer you’ve probably heard that you can pray anywhere. You can pray in your car on the way to work, you can pray while you’re in a meeting, you can pray during a conversation. You can pray anywhere, anytime. I think this idea came about to help us remember God’s accessibility in prayer. We can come to Him anytime and He will listen, but praying on the go shouldn’t be the norm.
Check out what Jesus has to say about this in Matthew 6.5-6:5 “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 6 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
We’re pretty familiar with verse 5. Some people were praying at street intersections so everyone could see them and be impressed by their spirituality. Don’t skip over verse 6 so quickly though. Why is Jesus so resolute that His disciples go into the room and pray with the door shut? The people He’s referring to in verse 5 have allowed themselves to become distracted in their prayers. They’re so intent on other people’s opinion of them that they’re not focusing on their prayer. Sound familiar? You probably don’t have a problem with praying on the main streets in Tuscaloosa, but I bet you get distracted when you pray. You’ll start trying to pray and the phone rings, facebook goes off, kids cry, spouse needs something, your mind wanders to the dirty dishes or upcoming deadlines. Jesus’ solution? Get away from all those distractions! The hypocrites were distracted by public opinion of their faith. We get distracted by a million different things because we lead such busy lives. Go into your room and SHUT the door. Shut away all those distractions, leave them in the other room and focus on your time with the Father. God quiets Heaven to listen to you, it only seems right to quiet your life so you can speak to Him.
What tugs at your mind while you’re praying? Is there any way to mitigate those disturbances? If it’s dirty dishes wash them before you pray. If it’s a deadline finish the project or find a good stopping point. If it’s your spouse or kids let them know that you’ll be praying during this time and to not disturb you. Find a way to shut off all the things that try to distract you during your prayer time. Prayer is not a time to multitask. It’s an intimate conversation with the Father.