We’re all familiar with the often-repeated comment that Jesus didn’t give the disciples a lesson on anything but how to pray. And this lesson came in amongst His great message: the Sermon on the Mount –
“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”(Matthew 6:5-6 NIV)
This gave us the notion of the secret place. The place we go to meet with Jesus. For many of us we have a regular habit of going into a room (I do, my study) but this isn’t always possible for some people for whatever reason. Its essence involves getting alone with Jesus wherever that might be, in your car, on a mountain, sitting by a stream, etc.
Being Intentional about Intimacy
In our modern lives it’s very easy to be always on the go taking God with us. We all have our own versions of this depending on what particular season we’re experiencing in life. God wants to be involved in all we do and so bringing Him along as you go through your day is important. The essence of godliness is being aware of God at all times and actively engaging Him in whatever we’re doing.
“If we want to fully walk out the callings the Lord places on our lives, we must spend time with Him, cultivating intimacy in the secret place.”1
Jesus loves being with us and He so wants us to want to spend time with Him. It’s like any relationship we have quality time together leads to intimacy. Sharing our hearts draws us together. There is no shortcut to developing intimacy.
“Now Moses used to take the tent and pitch it outside the camp some distance away, calling it the ‘tent of meeting.’ … The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend. Then Moses would return to the camp, but his young aide Joshua son of Nun did not leave the tent.” (Exodus 33:7,11 NIV)
It’s easy when reading Exodus 33 to skip over the second half of verse 11. It’s a chapter about Moses and the Glory of the Lord. It’s a BIG chapter, exciting to read, as we get a little insight into the intimacy the Lord shared with Moses. But I’ve always been fascinated by this brief mention of Moses right hand man: Joshua.
I think most of us love the book of Joshua. How Joshua succeeded his mentor, Moses, and led the Israelites into their Promised Land. Often when we think about our Promised Land we think about something physical whether it’s a place or a new career or new season of some sort. But I believe it reflects us stepping into a new season of intimacy with the Lord.
And how did Joshua achieve it?
He didn’t leave the tent. He lingered in the Presence of God.
“What’s more, when we spend time in the secret place, our passion and hunger for Jesus grow.”2
Joshua discovered that for himself when he was an apprentice. And the Lord rewarded him by giving him the responsibility of leading his people into the Promised Land.
Progress or … not?
Over the weekend I was thinking about the first two weeks of Lent and questioned what had changed. Sure, I’ve not eaten chocolate (well, most days) and not looked at FB and Instagram. But it’s a lot more than giving up something. Isn’t it?
These past few days my life unexpectedly slowed down. So I’ve spent more time in my secret place, being more intentional about sitting in His presence. And I’ve loved it. And I don’t want to leave it.
How about you? Have you had a recent opportunity to spend quality time in your secret place with Jesus?
BTW, where is your secret place? Be great to encourage each other by sharing where (or how) we go to our secret place.
Let me pray for us:
Jesus, we love you, we worship you. Thank you that you so desire intimacy with us. Help us to realize that the desire in our hearts is the same: to have intimacy with you. Because you put it there in the beginning. When you made us. Please show us, even if it means interrupting our lives, how to spend time with you in the secret place. In Your loving name we pray. Amen.
Notes: 1. Daily Insights to Birthing the Miraculous: 100 Devotions for Reflection and Prayer, Heidi Baker. Charisma House 2016 p32. 2 ibid.