“And now about prayer. When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I assure you, that this is all the reward they will ever get. But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father secretly. Then your Father, who knows all secrets, will reward you.”
Matthew 6:5-6, NLT
I’am writing this after having just toured the castle in which King James was born, and the palace from which he reigned. What light this sheds on these two verses in Matthew, especially in the translation that this monarch authorized!
The king saw petitioners regularly. In order to get an audience with the king and have him rule on a matter of right a wrong, there were very specific steps to be followed. These steps immediately reminded me of the Outer Court, Inner Court, Holy of Holies, and Old Covenant approach to the presence of God. But even more so, they reminded me of the Sermon on the Mount.
After a fair amount of preparation, a petitioner would enter the king’s bedchamber in the presence of the ruler’s attendants. The king, however, would be in a smaller adjoining room known as the Royal Closet. Nobody got to enter the king’s closet. When the king was ready he would open the closet, hear the request, rule on the matter, and close the closet door dismissing the petitioner.
Imagine the shocking grace discovered by King James’ scribes as they translated from the ancient manuscripts. Unlike having an audience with an earthly king, the King of kings invites us to meet with Him, not only in the intimacy of the bedchamber, but in the most private, holy place – the closet.
QUESTION: How can you prepare your heart and mind to go before the King? What personal petitions will you bring to the Ruler of all creation? Are you ready to go deeper, into the most intimate place of grace with your heavenly Father today?