But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. Matthew 6:6 ESV
Maybe the hardest part about real prayer is that no one knows about it except God. Jesus told us to be alone with God, but I hate to be alone. Didn’t God say, “It is not good for man to be alone.” But then God reminds me that Adam wasn’t lonely, and he wasn’t ever really alone. In fact, before he sinned, Adam was able to walk in the garden every day with God. But as God watched Adam sleeping, He decided that Adam needed another person to be with Him. So that night, God performed the first surgery and He removed one of Adam’s ribs to form Eve as a helper who was made just for him.
Imagine Adam’s surprise in the morning when he woke up and there she was! Prayer that is alone with God is not lonely because in it we draw closer to God. He wants us to learn that we can be closer to Him than anyone else in the world. He wants to be our most intimate friend. Jesus tells us to spend time alone in our prayer closet so that when we open the door and step out, we can walk with Him all through the day. That special fellowship was made possible by another surgery that God performed. That surgery happened one Friday on the cross. There a Roman soldier thrust His spear into Jesus’ side, and blood and water poured down. In that moment God forgave our sins, then while Jesus slept, God began to fashion for Him a people who would be made just for Him and to be with Him forever.
Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me. Isaiah 49:16
Have you sometimes felt that God has forgotten where you are or doesn’t understand what you are going through? You are not alone! Lots of people in the Bible felt like that. For example, just what was Adam thinking when he tried to hide from God in the garden? Did he think maybe God didn’t know every nook and cranny of His own creation? Abraham was regularly reminding God not only where he was but of the promise that he would have a son. When Gideon was visited by an angel he had questions as well
,” And Gideon said to him, ‘Please, my lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? ‘ ” Judges 6:13
Does that question sound familiar in your own life. Does it seem you would like to say with Martha,
“If you had been here my brother would not have died!” John 11:21
But God has not forgotten us! He knows exactly where we are, what is happening and how we feel. If you are going through deep waters today as you read these words, don’t give up or become bitter. God’s promise to us is that he has engraved us on the palms of His hands. Then if we pause to think we will remember that that engraving was with the nails of the cross.
As they pierced through the soft flesh of the hands of Jesus and His blood spilled over the rough wood. Your name and mine were carved on His palms. He suffered in agony that afternoon till He cried out “My God My God, Why have you forsaken me?” In that moment on Mount Calvary Jesus felt alone and forgotten so that we would never be!
“Do you continue to go with Jesus? The way lies through Gethsemane, through the city gate. outside the camp; the way lie alone.” Oswald Chambers
So Jacob was left alone,and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. Genesis 32:24
Autumn is a time of the closing of doors, the battening down of hatches, the gathering of the birds for their Winter flight to the south. In the overture to the ending of the year we begin to hear the symphony of God’s creation building to a crescendo just before the final note. There comes a sense of alone-ness that is not forsaken. We are not left alone to ourselves, but like Jacob we are left by the brook to wrestle with God through the night.
Jesus went to the garden and there despite his request to the disciples to tarry with Him, he was left alone. He prayed with such desperation that the sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood. Will we follow Him there? Will we remain true through the passing of the seasons in our lives? Will we continue through the frost-time and the first signs of snow and ice? Will we be there with our Lord when He calls us to tarry with Him?
If we do we will discover the promise of God sealed to our hearts. God will come to us just as He came to Jacob and left His blessing behind. He will be with us through our struggles just as Jesus’, passion was rewarded with the presence of angels strengthening Him for the cross. His promise of eternal life is not dimmed by our sorrows nor is it endangered by our battles. God will be true to His word forever. Our God will remain by our side till the end of our day and through the darkness to His own eternal morning.