The solitude of intimate prayer

Regular times of private prayer are where we can have the closest communion with Yahweh.

Regular times of private prayer are where we can have the closest communion with Yahweh.

Yeshua encouraged his followers to practice times of quiet prayer to God. This seems to have been to encourage an intimacy where religiosity had been responsible for conveying something different. We can learn what those religious practices were by the admonition of Messiah to do the opposite.

For example, it appears to have been the practice of the pagan religious leaders to prepare lengthy prayers with the hopes of convincing their gods to pay attention to their petitions.

Matthew 6:7-8 – “When you pray, don’t babble like the Gentiles, since they imagine they’ll be heard for their many words. Don’t be like them, because your Father knows the things you need before you ask him.”

It must also have been the practice of the Jewish religious leaders to enjoy praying publicly in a measure of show to the crowds that they were righteous. Yeshua names these religious leaders as hypocrites, a Greek word which means “actor, stage player, pretender.”

Matthew 6:5 – “Whenever you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites, because they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by people. Truly I tell you, they have their reward.”

These are not the types of prayers that God desires of his people. No, Yeshua mentions how heart-followers of Yahweh should have a private and intimate relationship with him that is not dependent on long, showy prayers. This is the type of prayer that Yeshua himself practiced. In times of great challenge or decision-making, he sought the will of the Father in solitude.

Matthew 14:23 – After dismissing the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. Well into the night, he was there alone.
Mark 6:45-46 – Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go ahead of him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. After he said good-bye to them, he went away to the mountain to pray.
Luke 6:12 – During those days he went out to the mountain to pray and spent all night in prayer to God.

Of course, Yeshua taught his followers how they should pray by outlining what types of things they should pray for in his model prayer, what we have come to know as the Lord’s Prayer, in Matthew 6:9-13 and Luke 11:2-4. But it was verse six in which he taught where they should pray:

Matthew 6:6 – “But when you pray, go into your private room, shut your door, and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”

The prayer of the righteous individual is one of the heart. The heart is private and sincere. It must be sought out in solitude, as it doesn’t (or shouldn’t) in any way rely on the approval of others. For believers, the only one we should be seeking approval of is Yahweh, and ensuring that our lives are ones that honor him. This is how we are set apart, this is what makes us holy.

If you enjoy these daily blog posts, be sure to visit the growing archive of the Core of the Bible podcast. Each week we take a more in-depth look at one of the various topics presented in the daily blog. You can view the podcast archive on our Podcast Page, at Core of the Bible on Simplecast, or your favorite podcast streaming service.

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