Christ’s fullness is the measure of the “new life” given to us (AMAZING!!) and we grow in it through new life training.*
Because prayer is at the core of our life in him, it’s our most urgent training challenge. And the “inner room” of personal prayer life is the action hub. One of the most stretching training lessons is learning to love closed door times.
Praying together (small or large groups) can encourage, energize and be exceptionally powerful. But in that “upper room”, the prayer strength of the whole is influenced by the inner room life of the parts.
The inner and upper rooms are both essential in the believer’s prayer life. Each room has a unique mandate, but they are connected. Upper room authority is affected by the inner room experience of those gathered.
Prayer gatherings are vital, but can miss their potential if we promote them over personal prayer growth. The upper room isn’t a substitute for the inner one; it’s an extension of our personal prayer encounters with the Lord. Our closed door prayer times train us for meaningful upper room participation.
Jesus wanted to stretch the prayer experience of his disciples, so he gave them “when you pray” wisdom from his own lifestyle: the importance of closed door times – shutting out distractions to enjoy focused prayer time with the Father (Matt 6:5-8). He knew that nation-shaking ministries, persecution quakes and all kinds of tests and troubles were on the way – entrusted to people who would live as he did, from the inner room.
Two favourite step-backs from the inner room:
- Not in the mood. Emotions are important in prayer, but they can’t be the driver (that role belongs to our spirit). Feelings don’t shape our prayer responses, they serve them. It’s important to keep the order, especially in situations (like the current global one) that put emotions on a roller coaster.
When we feel low, getting into a list of prayer points can be a struggle, but making closed door time to ADMIRE the Lord makes a difference. Feelings might be slow to move there, but will be drawn into our spirit’s response to Glory. For more on praying admiration, see The Admiration Priority.
- No time for it. The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in loss, shock and major inconvenience to many. But the lockdown measures have forced us into pause mode. Movements and busyness have been dialed down and schedules are lighter. Could this be a season to renew love for closed door times? Can it be our time for personal rediscovery of inner room enjoyment?
Prayer at ALL times is important (the 1 Thes 5:17 mode). But it is prayer at SET times (the Matt 6:6 discipline) that helps our movement up that learning curve.
We can own this time as a training season for revival of inner room prayer enjoyment.
- For many, the current crisis has interrupted normal schedules. As you look at your lockdown calendar, circle closed door prayer times that will work best for you.
- Being intentional in our priesthood includes planning inner room times. Decide the where, when, how long and how frequently questions. Prepare some scriptures beforehand (your Admiration Response notes) that you can draw from to focus your heart on admiration of the Lord.
- The Lord’s presence is the inner room’s central focus, so we are learning to close the door to whatever distracts from him. Steer all thoughts, reading, listening, singing or asking towards awareness, admiration and enjoyment of him.
*Rom 6:4, 1 Tim 4:7