The deepest and most meaningful communion we have with God is when we enter into the fellowship of solitary prayer in the secret place. I call it the inner chamber. Jesus understood the importance of solitude. “Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed” (Mark 1:35).
When you enter your own inner chamber, notice that Jesus suggests you “shut your door,” (Matthew 6:6). How good are you at shutting doors? It’s a very effective, yet little practiced method to leave the rest of the world outside. I know young parents who mistakenly think they have to let their little ones barge in on them whenever and wherever they like, without restriction. That’s a sure path to insanity.
Shut your door and it will fulfill its purpose, which is to prevent any interference and to enforce strict privacy. Along with the plain old door to our inner chamber, other “doors” we must shut include the power buttons on the television, computer, phone, iPod…you get the picture. That means turning them off, not merely letting them hibernate only to wake up and elbow their way into our private sessions with the Master.
It may be that we can measure the depth of our love for Christ by how “interruptable” our time with Him is. I often wonder if Christ looks at the array of techie devices sprawling across our desks and asks, “Do you love Me more than these?”
Your time in the inner chamber is the most precious time you have on earth. It is all that will prepare and qualify you for doing business in the public place. If you do not serve Christ behind closed doors in the inner chamber, you seriously stunt your ability to serve Him in the public marketplace, whether your marketplace is your family at home, or work outside the home, or even service to the church.
Jesus practiced solitude, apparently quite frequently. Are you capable of withdrawing into the absolute solitude of the inner chamber? Can you do it? Many believers cannot, because they have never really tried. It seems unthinkable to “go all solitary.” It’s as if they always need to be in the presence of other human beings in order to be a real person, or to be validated. On their own, they are bewildered, having lost their sense of self. It’s unfamiliar territory, and scary.
Jesus, who had the most amazing sense of “self” of anyone in history, withdrew into the wilderness, alone. A wilderness place is somewhere that is wild, desolate, sometimes barren, but really just untamed or uncultivated. For those who are inexperienced in personally relating with Christ, even their own inner chamber may seem like a wilderness place. There is a promise resting over the wilderness, though, a promise just for you. The wilderness will blossom. It will become a place of beauty, a fruitful, growing place. I’m sure that Jesus, having often trod the solitary path of prayer, experienced the wilderness environment in an entirely different way than some of us may at this point. Instead of finding it untamed and uncultivated, I’m quite certain it was His beloved inner chamber, a place of safety, fellowship, counsel, affirmation and productivity.
There is something to that idea. Can you see it? How vital it is for us to experience the potentially frightening and lonely wilderness parts of our lives from the perspective of the inner chamber. When we do this, we will see these areas tamed. We will experience them as exciting venues, filled with the beauty of God’s holiness, places that He holds in His hand, showcases for His glory. We will see them as places and times of opportunity for the Father to fulfill His eternal promise, “I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert” (Isaiah 43:19b). Go ahead. Give it a try. Give Him the opportunity to shine through your life. Be brave. Shut your door.