The prayer closet comes before prominence

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The secret altar of the prayer closet precedes the public reward from God

Prayer Closet

But you, when you pray, go into your prayer closet, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. (Matthew 6:6)

Our prayer closet represents the place where we routinely enjoy privacy with God. In our prayer closet, we are ourselves. We are completely transparent and we can pour forth our heart in complete sincerity.

The altar is a place where our will is broken and we give God everything that he requires of us. It is a place of sacrifice, where we offer God something that costs us that is also pleasing to him and real. The word “sacrifice” in Latin means “to make holy”. Every altar is a place where God’s voice powerfully touches and transforms us. This is the highest principle of personal sanctification.

On the “altar of our prayer closet”, we offer part of our day, time and therefore, our life, seeking God’s face and examining the Scriptures.

We do not build this secret altar in the church or through fellowship with other Christians, but in the prayer closet, alone with God. Jesus explained the power of a devotional life and a personal relationship with the Father.

We receive the strongest and most intimate revelations and experiences in the prayer closet. In the prayer closet, we learn to place our faith in total dependence on God and not on people.

The personal conviction that God is a limitless source, determines the level of our maturity. Many times, we place our expectations in people or things when we should channel them exclusively in God.

This attitude is understandable during a certain time as new converts, however if we persist in this attitude, we run the risk of condemning ourselves to an immature spiritual life that vacillates according to circumstances. Whenever we depend more on people than on God, we expose ourselves to many disappointments that tend to weaken us even more.

A successful “public” ministerial life is nothing more than the spiritual effect of a personal relationship and secret life with God.

The sheep field precedes the battlefield

Moreover David said, “The Lord, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” And Saul said to David, ” Go, and the Lord be with you!” (1 Samuel 17:37)

Here we have the solitary altar of the sheep field preceding the testimony of the battlefield, the public defeat of the Philistine war-hero that taunted the Army of Israel.

Before David publicly defeated Goliath, he overcame the claws of the lion and the bear in obscurity. Before being impressed with the intimidating presence of the giant, David was previously impressed with the greatness of God. The truth is that David did not defeat Goliath, but the relationship that he had with God was the factor that gave him the victory.

David knew how to transform the loneliness of the field into a constant opportunity to enjoy the presence of God. This transformed him into a true worshiper. There was no one around him to impress or to corrupt his motivation. His life of worship was pure and legitimate.

Before taking the sword of Goliath, David received the harp of God. We receive the harp of God on the hidden altar of our prayer closet and the sword of the giant on the altar of public testimony, when God publicly rewards us.

This is the anointing of David: the harp of God in one hand and the sword of the giant in the other. In this manner, he rebuked and overcame the demonic principality that tormented the King and the governor of the nation for so long:

And so it was, whenever the spirit from God was upon Saul, that David would take a harp and play it with his hand. Then Saul would become refreshed and well, and the distressing spirit would depart from him. (1 Samuel 16:23)

After David defeated Goliath, and held his head up to the multitude, the King, impressed with the feat, tried to find out who that little boy was. David surprised everyone. It is interesting that nobody knew who David was:

When Saul saw David going out against the Philistine, he said to Abner, the commander of the army, “Abner, whose son is this youth?” And Abner said, “As your soul lives, O king, I do not know.” (1 Samuel 17:55, 56)

David was unknown, a “John Doe” of society. However, in spite of the fact that he was unknown among men, he was well-known to God!

When Goliath challenged the whole army demanding, “… Give me a man, that we may fight together” (1 Samuel 17:10), God heard Goliath’s prayer and gave him David. In spite of the fact that the giant also despised David, he was God’s secret weapon.

This is the blessing of the valley, the altar of testimony, where God rewards our relationship with him, and publicly delivers our enemies into our hands. The valley is strategic because many opportunities arise from the valley.

The anointed testimony that comes from a hidden life with God has the power to extend our borders. After defeating the hero of the Philistines, God put David on the path that led him to rule the nation.

The hidden altar in the Jordan River precedes the Memorial outside the Jordan

The Jordan River is the dividing line of change, where you leave the desert and begin conquering and enjoying a territory of enjoyment of God’s promises. You either leave the desert approved of God, or you do not leave at all, you die in the desert!

The Jordan is for those who not only left Egypt, but also abandoned the slave mentality. The Jordan also communicates the real meaning of repentance.

Repentance is not merely the recognition of your sin or the admission and confession of moral failures. Repentance does not say things like, “I really did do those things, I shouldn’t have, and I’m very sorry.” None of these examples defines repentance. It is a grave mistake to confuse confession with repentance.

Repentance, from the Greek word “methanoia”, means a change of mind and purpose. It is when you mentally decide with absolute determination, “This sin that I often commit, I will no longer commit! The temptations to which I yielded my will, I will no longer yield to! Even if I have to sweat blood! I have changed my motivation, my disposition, my direction and my mentality!” This is the genuine attitude of repentance.

This internal decision of change establishes a new direction that reconciles us with the truth in God’s purposes. We substitute inconsistency with firmness and determination. We firmly establish a new stature that agrees with God’s will. God leads us into unexpected and surprising victories! It is here that sin and corruption kneel before the power of the Holy Spirit. When you genuinely repent, it is not that you abandon sin, but sin abandons you.

The altar in the Jordan River is one of the principle landmarks of God in a Christian’s life. We celebrate the baptism of repentance on two altars: one hidden in the riverbed of the Jordan and the other beside the Jordan with stones taken out of the riverbed.

God, through the hidden altar of the Jordan, testifies of our intimate experience and change of heart and mentality.

Then Joshua set up twelve stones in the midst of the Jordan, in the place where the feet of the priests who bore the Ark of the Covenant stood; and they are there to this day. (Joshua 4:9)

This altar is only for those who have walked on the dry riverbed of the Jordan. After the waters returned to flow through the riverbed, no one else could see that altar, except God.

The public altar however, is the testimony that we give to what God has done, of how he accomplished the miracle of the change in our lives. It is simply the fruit of a personal and intimate experience with God:

But when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and Ai, (Joshua 9:3)

Every river crossing in life, every spiritual change of address and mentality is marked by these two altars. Everything begins with the testimony that God gives concerning us and is completed by the testimony that we give of him. This is therefore the first factor of the principle of presenting ourselves before God.

 




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