How often do we pray without thinking of God at all? Perhaps that is not a problem for you. It seems that the more fervent I desire to be about prayer, the more I realize that what I would call praying is perhaps not praying at all. Indeed, it might be indulging in silence and rest, but no thoughts Godward!
This fact caught me by surprise as I was reading a book about prayer by Anthony Bloom. He made this statement about interceding for others that really made me think about my prayer focus: “No, it was not born of God’s presence, of your faith in Him, of your longing for Him, of your awareness of Him; it was born of nothing but your concern for him or her or it [the object of your prayer], not for God.”
Yikes, I never thought about my prayers that way. That was until I read that passage. Now I’m seeing it every day. Many of my prayers are not about the One, true, holy, beautiful God, rather about what I want. At other times, I’m lost in prayer—and not in a good way either.
How does God put up with us? In addition to teaching us The Lord’s Prayer, Jesus taught about prayer this way in Matthew 6:6:
“But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.“
Perhaps the secret to secret prayer is that you feel rewarded. There is nothing like intimacy with the One True God through secret prayer.
I am becoming more and more aware that even if I am not paying attention to my prayers, God is. He is very much aware of the prayers that I pray that don’t involve an awareness of Him at all. Those prayers don’t mean anything to Him. I’m growing discontent to meaningless prayers. I want rewarded prayers. I want to learn Jesus’ secret to concentration in prayer and awareness of the wonder of our mighty, invisible God.
I don’t want to be satisfied with marking off my prayers each day, knowing that I have covered all those who asked me to pray. I want to find the fulfillment Jesus had in prayer, the fulfillment of being aware of the true and powerful presence of God in prayer.
Prayer doesn’t really commence until I am aware of God. I sense His delight in creating me to give Him praise and glory that He alone deserves. I get started as I think of His awareness of me being aware of Him. It’s only then that my true prayers have meaning. I pray prayers from scripture that connect me to His promises in His word. I pray prayers of repentance for the reality of my sins that flood my soul when I am honestly aware of Him. I pray prayers in confidence that He will do the right thing with each request, even ignoring me altogether if that is not what is best in the situation, and especially when I can’t see what He alone knows—how this could be the best answer to my prayer.
The secret to praying in secret is praying to the invisible God.