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.
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. John 15:1
Back in 1970 Joni Mitchell wrote the now unforgettable song titled “Woodstock.” A famous line says; “We’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden.” Perhaps today in the midst of rioting, shutdowns and general societal chaos a lot of us feel that same longing to be able to get back to that first garden… the Garden of Eden. Though I have always loved Joni Mitchell both as a song writer and singer; the hope for returning to the innocence of creation’s garden doesn’t lie within ourselves. The path to that place runs through another garden where the body of our crucified Lord was buried. There on the third day when they came to find Him He was not to be found (At least not at first). But Mary Magdalene remained behind even when everyone else had gone home. By going and waiting in that garden she discovered that Jesus had been there waiting all along. Today He is there still waiting for you and I. It is the Garden of Prayer and He longs for us to come and meet with Him there.
Here in Florida where we have plenty of warm muggy days to contend with; I love to walk early in the morning. It helps me to gather my thoughts and spend part of my quiet time with God before the sun punches its time clock and begins work for the day. The Bible says that God went looking for Adam and Eve in the cool of the day. The word cool can also be translated wind and it is akin to the breathe of God that hovered over the waters at the beginning of creation. Even before God said; “Let there be light!” the breathe of the Spirit was at work. In that same way if we earnestly seek the presence of Jesus in the cool of each morning He won’t need to come looking to come looking for us!