By: Fredi Trammell
Jesus taught us the secret of victorious praying in what we shall call “labors of the closet.” In the sixth chapter of Matthew, He warns strongly against praying as the hypocrites pray. He states that the hypocrites love to pray in public places, praying long prayers to be heard by people. Of course, the hoped-for end result of this kind of praying was that the pray-er would be classified as righteous and holy.
Jesus was not condemning public prayer (He prayed in public); neither was He frowning upon long prayers, for He prayed all night. Rather He was driving home the REAL intent of prayer. The “closet prayer” is simply closing out of the mind everything that may bring personal glory or fleshly admiration because of one’s praying. With purity of purpose, one is to enter into his closet of prayer for an audience with God. The precious labors of the closet demand no special gift. When one enters his closet of prayer and shuts the door as Jesus taught, there is no demand for special talents or gifts or preeminent mental endowments. One may not have the ability to teach, preach, write or travel, but lie can pray. Epaphras is little heard of. But Apostle Paul wrote about him to the church at Colosse. He depicted Epaphras as a man of the closet-type praying when he wrote, “Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God” (Colossians 4:12).
One’s heart can\spring upward to the throne in prayer and supplication (petition) at any time. The Father’s ear is always open to the cry of His children. His Presence Chamber is ever accessible. He is always ready to hear, ready to answer. He is the hearer, the answerer, and the lover of importunate prayer. He has said, “Ask . . . seek . . . knock”; “men ought always to pray and not to faint”; “all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive”; “If any man lack wisdom, let him ask of God.” These words are of universal application. The feeblest of God’s children can pray, can watch, can get an answer and return thanks to God.
To be directly in unison with the Spirit of Christ is the most elevated motive one can have. He desires that we “stand complete in all the will of God.” Those who are led forth in prayer are privileged to enjoy high communion with the great Intercessor. How marvelous that poor, feeble creatures should be permitted to pray about that which engages the thoughts and interests of the Lord of Glory! What a powerful link there was between Epaphras and the heart of Jesus Christ when Epaphras was laboring for his brethren at Colosse in prayer. May the Lord Jesus raise up those among us who will be cast into the same spiritual mold as our dear brother Epaphras.
Petitioning God is simply bringing to Him our needs and desires, whatever they may be. Jesus taught us in the Lord’s Prayer to do this. He taught us to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread . . . lead us not into temptation . . . deliver us from evil . . . thy kingdom come . . . thy will be done . . . forgive us . . . we forgive. . . ”
We should make appointments with God just as we make appointments with our doctors, dentists, business associates and friends. Audiences with Him should become just as realistic to us and as commonplace as conversations with our friends and associates. It should be remembered that too many cancellations of these appointments may cause a deterioration in relationships.