Go into your room...
5 “When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites, who love to pray standing in the synagogues and on street corners, so that people can see them. Yes! I tell you, they have their reward already!6 But you, when you pray, go into your room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. Your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
These verses are where the idea of a "prayer closet" originates. "Go into your room..." "Pray in secret..."
There is another idea behind these words as well. If you have been around Jewish men who are praying, you have noticed that they wear something on their head. This is called a tallit, or a prayer shawl. There are fringes at the bottom and knots, both of which have insight and meaning to them. Most of them also wrap tafillin around their arm and forehead. The number of wraps and placement is also important. This is another study option for those who want to learn more.
If these prayer shawls are used properly, they become like a private closet. It covers around the head and face, bringing quiet to a person. The outside is not seen and they can have communion with God and will not see what is happening around them.
In a sense, it brings understanding to the verse, "pray without ceasing." By wearing these prayer shawls all the time, one could stop and pray whenever they needed too. It would be a private conversation between God and man.
These verses are not doing away with corporate prayer where we can encourage one another. Rather, it is Jesus making a statement that one should not be like those who flaunt their words and parade on streets bringing full attention to themselves. Prayer is not to bring attention to ourselves, rather it is to talk with the Father. Prayer is meant to worship Him and have a conversation with Him.
Take time today to pray... Stop and focus on time with Him. It is His relationship that matters most.
Love and blessings,
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