“When thou prayest, enter into thy closet” (Matthew 6:6).
What do these four words suggest: “Enter into thy closet”? The closet is simply a place shut out from intrusion and interruption—the meeting place of one man and his Maker. The closet is the Holy of Holies where the soul meets God alone and communes with Him at the blood-sprinkled mercy-seat. Every praying soul needs some place and time for prayer, free from needless interruption and intrusion. The more completely we can separate ourselves from all other persons, all worldly pursuits and pleasures, all distracting cares or diverting thoughts, shutting out all else but God, the better.
God has appointed two means for cultivating a sense of His existence and a realization of His presence. First, a meditative reading of Holy Scripture, and secondly a habitual communion with Him in the closet.
When a devout disciple takes God’s Word in his hands, for studious and thoughtful meditation, he naturally lifts his heart to Him who alone can unveil the eyes of his understanding to behold wondrous things out of His law (Psalm 119:18). As he reads and searches, meditating therein, the same Spirit who first inspired the Word illumines his mind. New light is thrown upon the sacred page, so that what was obscure or hidden becomes visible and legible. When the Author of the Word becomes Instructor and Interpreter of His own textbook, we read Heaven’s great classic with the notes and comments of the divine Author Himself!
Communion with God in the closet implies meditation. The closet is not an oratory—a place for prayer in the narrow sense of mere request—as much as it is an observatory, from which to get new views of God, and new revelations of Him. There is a quest higher than mere request—a search after knowledge of God and communication from Him. In this secret place, devout souls learn what is meant by communion—and communion is mutual. There is not only prayer offered, but blessing received. The praying soul speaks to God, and hears God speak. He who enters the closet gets as well as gives, and finds the most precious part of this communion, not in any requests imparted Godward, but in returns imparted manward, the reception from God of divine impressions and communications.
To get such exalted impressions of God, an investment of time is needed. He who rushes into the presence of God to hurry through a few formal petitions, and then hurries back to worldly cares and pursuits, does not stay long enough. He does not take sufficient time to fix his mind’s gaze on the unseen and eternal. Many so-called “praying people” have never once really met and seen God in the closet. But when such communion becomes real, prayer ceases to be mere duty and becomes delight.
—Condensed from Lessons in the School of Prayer by A. T. Pierson.