Seeking Divine Approbation
Wade E Taylor
“But you, when you pray, enter into your closet, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father, who sees in secret, shall reward you openly.” Matthew 6:6
The word “closet” is translated from a Greek word meaning a “storage chamber.” Most translations use the word “room.” This weakens the intent of the Lord, as anyone can easily find and enter a “room” in which to pray, but for us to enter a “closet” is quite a different matter.
We are living in the time of the Laodicean Church, which we are told is “rich and increased with goods” (Revelation 3:17). Thus, our “closets” are full. As our closets, so also, our lives are filled with demanding activities. Therefore, most of us are too busy to spend much time in prayer.
For us to enter our “closet” (set apart place) to pray requires that we actively and determinedly make room, where there is no room. For us to establish a “set apart time and place” for prayer, and then maintain this time for prayer, does not come easily.
Therefore, we must place a high value on the time that we spend alone with the Lord, or it will be overtaken and replaced with activities - for, our closets are full. This “set apart time to be alone with the Lord” must constantly be contended for.
A woman once heard me share this, and later told me that she had taken seriously what I had said. She literally emptied a closet, placed a chair within, entered and shut the door. There, she wonderfully met the Lord, and later, excitedly shared her experience with me.
Our Lord is very sensitive about “room being made” for Him, as, when He was born into this world, there was “no room” in the inn. Thus, when anyone of us actively determines to make room for Him, He quickly notices and responds.
Our Lord, who “sees in secret, will reward us openly.” This speaks of His “approbation,” or divine favor resting upon us - all that we are, and do.
The effort that we take to make “room” for Him, and then spend time with Him alone, is the key to His approbation (divine favor), resting upon our spiritual life experience.
“Your Father which is in secret… shall reward you openly.” Comparing Isaiah 50:4 with Mark 1:35 reveals to us that Jesus began each day in prayer alone with His Father.
“The Lord God has given Me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: He wakens morning by morning, He wakens My ear to hear as the learned.” Isaiah 50:4
“And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, He (Jesus) went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.” Mark 1:35
After this “set apart time,” when Jesus ministered, the favor of His Father resting upon Him was evident.
“The officers answered, Never man spoke like this man.” John 7:46
“And they were astonished at His doctrine: for He taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes.” Mark 1:22
We cannot lose by spending time alone with the Lord. At the end of time spent alone with Jesus, we may feel like we wasted our time, but later, we will notice that everything is going better than we had expected, or deserved.
Again, we cannot lose by setting apart a special time in which to meet with Jesus.