The Preciousness of Secret Prayer
Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Psalm 62:8.
A deep sense of our need and a great desire for the things for which we ask must characterize our prayers, else they will not be heard. But we are not to become weary and cease our petitions because the answer is not immediately received. “The kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force” (Matthew 11:12). The violence here meant is a holy earnestness, such as Jacob manifested. We need not try to work ourselves up into an intense feeling, but calmly, persistently, we are to press our petitions at the throne of grace. Our work is to humble our souls before God, confessing our sins, and in faith drawing nigh unto God. . . . It is the design of God to reveal Himself in His providence and in His grace. The object of our prayers must be the glory of God, not the glorification of ourselves. . . .
God has honored us by showing how greatly He values us. We are bought with a price, even the precious blood of the Son of God. When His heritage shall conscientiously follow the Word of the Lord, His blessing will rest upon them in answer to their prayers. “Therefore also now, saith the Lord, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: and rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness” (Joel 2:12, 13).
In secret prayer the soul should be laid bare to the inspecting eye of God. . . . How precious is secret prayer–the soul communing with God! Secret prayer is to be heard only by the prayer-hearing God. No curious ear is to receive the burden of petitions. Calmly, yet fervently, the soul is to reach out after God; and sweet and abiding will be the influence emanating from Him who sees in secret, whose ear is open to the prayer arising from the heart. He who in simple faith holds communion with God will gather to himself divine rays of light to strengthen and sustain him in the conflict with Satan.
That I May Know Him p. 272
Notice: I noticed that the devotional was sent out twice again yesterday. I’m hoping the issue will be resolved soon. Sorry for the inconvenience,
—– Carmie is showing signs, randomly, of being in stage 2 labor. The vet, last night, told us she should wait a week or so… We just need prayers for her. She doesn’t seem like she’s in distress. She’s still eating and drinking fine. She’s leaking a little and cranky with our other two dogs. And she’s been hanging very close to us since Sunday. I’m told the last two weeks they become real Divas but this is a first for me…. Let’s have the next vet trip be for worming the pups, not the endless list of things that could go wrong between now and then… Please keep her in prayer. Nicole
—–Please pray for Esther and the children as they drive back home today from her friend’s house. Rose
It is an unfortunate fact, that being wronged and hurt by fellow church members is a rather common occurrence. More than likely, you too, have suffered hurt from those who should have been a help along the path to Heaven. Because of this, I would like to share with you a letter that I received from my youngest daughter some years ago. One morning, in her private devotions, the Holy Spirit, through a very familiar passage of Scripture, gave her peace regarding all the hurtful things that fellow church members had done to her over the years. She wrote:
“My dearest family,
I was reading through the book of Matthew today. When I reached the 13th chapter I found something that made me understand what has happened in _____. I am sure there are question marks written all over your faces right about now. And rightly so, but please pray for the Holy Spirit to open your hearts. Read and listen to what I have learned from this.
Many times I have questioned in my heart as to why God would allow people without God’s love to remain in His church—especially when they are hurting so many people…….. I thought that this couldn’t possibly be God’s plan because God is loving and kind. I have struggled with this for years. I know that struggle is shared with each of you.
I have found peace this morning! It is my prayer that by the end of this letter you will also find that peace and forgiveness flowing through you!
Yes, chapter 13 is the parable of the wheat and the tares. It wasn’t the beginning that struck me but the end: “Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn. . . .Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house: and his disciples came unto him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field. He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.” Matt 13:24-42
I know that you have read this story many times, but more can still be found! I realize that just as the weeds could not be removed for fear of pulling up some wheat in the process, the unloving, cruel people are allowed to remain for fear of losing some of the loving. God knows that if He removed the bad people in the church, some of the sincere might—no, would—become discouraged, turn away, and lose their salvation.
Like it or not, the people who have hurt us are helping others in one way or another. It is better that they remain for those few souls. Perish the thought that they could be lost.
Our trials have not been in vain and the Lord did not allow us to weaken and die. Instead, these experiences strengthened us! Praise the Lord!!! “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Matt 6:14, 15 This is a very strong warning to us. Our eternal life and forgiveness is at stake! Please accept God’s power to forgive those who have hurt us, for we fail too. Who is to say that they are worse than we are?
God says, “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven.” Matt 5:44, 45
I pray that you will find forgiveness, so you will find peace. I love each of you with my whole heart!
Your loving daughter / sister,
It is my hope that you will apply this principle to any hurts you have received at the hands of fellow believers and freely forgive that you, in turn, may be forgiven. “Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing. For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it. For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil. And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good? But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation [conduct] in Christ.” 1 Peter 3:8-16