We Must Prepare Our Hearts for Prayer

It is important to have regular and disciplined prayer


But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you (Matthew 6:6, NIV).

Do you think it is important for us to have a regular, disciplined, secret prayer life? Well, yes. It is. The above verse seems to assume we regularly pray, and it gives instructions for how to go about it. It is to be spoken to our Father in intimate secrecy. Although it’s possible (even desirable) to pray while driving a car or engaging in other activities during the day, spur-of-the-moment prayer does not, and cannot, replace the focused, disciplined, set-apart time that Jesus is talking about here in Matthew 6:6.

Spurgeon wrote: “There is no doubt that it is by praying that we learn to pray, and that the more we pray, the better our prayers will be.

People who pray in spurts are never likely to attain the kind of prayer described in the Scriptures as “powerful and effective …” (James 5:16).

Prayer that is rich in praise and worship, heavy with faith in what God’s Word says, burdened for His church, feverish for what only God can do for a dying world, and centered on His kingdom purposes is not the product of an impulsive moment. It is prayer of a considered, biblically driven purpose, with an urgency about it that demands time and priority.

We would never even consider appearing for an appointment with our boss at work in an unprepared manner. We would want the facts and figures they need, the paperwork printed and in order, input from several of our own subordinates, and thought-out requests that benefit the company — all gathered before we walk through the door. How much more should our hearts be prepared to bring before God the most pressing needs of those around us? How much more should we be entirely focused on meeting with Him, not distracted by interruptions and other demands? How much more should we realize the importance of regularly meeting with Him?

Regular, disciplined, secret prayer provides a springboard from which “spurts” of prayer can rise naturally throughout the day — but is not true the other way around. Spurts of prayer very seldom give rise to regular, disciplined, secret prayer. Christ instructs us to go into a room, shut the door, and pray to our Father in secret — then we are given a conditional promise. When we do as He instructs, our Father “who sees what is done in secret” (Matt. 6:6), will reward us.

Please pray for the worldwide church, that:

• We would, like Daniel, be a people of regular, secret, disciplined prayer.

• We would treasure and delight in this time between the Triune God and ourselves.

• We would see God wonderfully reward secret prayer — not just in eternity, but seeing changes in the circumstances of the here and the now.

Father,

We have found the joy of secret, disciplined prayer to be exactly what we need for each day. Without it, our souls are left hungering and thirsty. Father, let us build our plans for the day around the need for this sweet communion with You. Let us discipline ourselves to get out of bed earlier and find a place where nobody can interrupt us — and help us leave the phones out of the picture. We ask You to protect us from intrusions. After all, this is our lifeline.


Carol Archer has been a student of Scripture-based prayer for more than 20 years. She has been a women’s speaker and teacher in South Carolina since 2011 and a women’s ministries leader for the last seven years. She is the author of A Seat in the Heavenlies: Lord, Show Us How to Pray, soon to be reprinted by Courier Publishing. Carol and her husband reside in Irmo, S.C.