Prayer Closet

Prayer closet?  What is that?  Examine Matthew 6:6 (ESV) that says: "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.”  Have you ever noticed that trying to find time to study the Bible or other resources to learn more about the Christian faith and enrich your life and walk with Jesus is not an easy thing to do?  In our busy and frantic lives, there is always something competing for our attention.  And it does from the moment we wake up each morning to when we lay our heads down at night to get some rest.

So, how do we put time into our day for Jesus?  A close walk with Jesus is not just going to Church on Sunday or even Sunday and Wednesday.  Don’t get me wrong, sharing fellowship with others who walk with Jesus is vitally important for our growth as well, as we are all a part of God’s family and iron sharpens iron (Pro. 27:17).  But isn’t Jesus with us all hours of the day, seven days a week?  If you have acceped Jesus as your personal Savior, you have been given the gift of having the Holy Spirit with you always.  Since the Holy Spirit is in you, shouldn’t we acknowledge Him and take advantage of the abundant grace and opportunity that lies within each of us who have accepted Jesus?  We have an open channel of communication with Jesus and our Father.

One way is to acknowledge and become closer to Jesus and have conversations with Him throughout the day.  That doesn’t necessarily mean that we are dropping to our knees with every thought or prayer (although that is an expression of respect, reverance and admiration and James was known to have calluses on his knees).  But we can have conversations with Jesus through the Holy Spirit at many points throughout our day.  If something good happens to you, pause what you are doing and say a little prayer thanking Jesus.  If you are challenged, perplexed or sad, call upon Jesus for help.  He is our Father and as His children, He wants to hear from us.  He wants to be a part of our lives, all parts, the ups and the down.  Not just on Sundays.  We are encouraged to pray incessantly. Eph. 6:18 "praying at all times in the Spirit”; Luke 18:1 "And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart” Phil 4:5-7 "The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  If you are a parent, wouldn’t you want your child who is in need let you know or if they appreciated something that they would thank you.  This makes the bond of love even stronger.

So, what do I mean when I talk about a “prayer closet?”  A prayer closet is not necessarily a closet so to speak, but rather it is anywhere you can go to that is quiet and you can escape from all the noise, stimulation and problems of the world.  Yes, I know that we can’t fully escape our problems. But we can escape to a quiet place and hand them over to our Father.  Our Father is much bigger than any and all problems any of us will ever face.  Many times in the Bible it is noted that Jesus used to escape and go off by Himself to a quiet place devoid of others and go pray.  

For some people this may be the outdoors in the quiet of the morning or a room without distractions.  To others it is a quiet location inside at night.  Whatever works best for you time-wise, it just needs to be a time you are still somewhat alert and can focus.  For me the morning is best as I believe in putting God first and this means the first part of my day will be spent focused on Him and spending time with Him.  Saying a few prayers in bed before my feet hit the floor to begin my day gets me started.  I notice that in the early morning, the world has not quite entered into my head yet.  I avoid reading the paper, turning on the news or start exercising.  I retreat with a cup of coffee to my prayer closet, which is a room with my Bible and its respective resources such as devotionals and Bible commentaries.

Another thing I do to tune out the world is to put on some calm music, as to me total silence is deafening in that I can’t seem to concentrate and my mind wanders or I can drift off to sleep.  Also, I do enjoy the serene sounds of the outdoors like the sound of a nearly creek or stream and songbirds.  The music is some new age or classical piano music.  I can’t have music with singing as I will start singing along.  Everyone is different on this and has differnt music tastes, so if you have trouble concentrating with dead silence, use whatever music helps you concentrate.  And morning may not be your most productive time.  The point is to find the appropriate time and place that what works best for you.

Not only do I like to have background music playinging in the morning, but I like to have it playing while at work and even music to help me drift off to sleep.  I found an app for my iPhone that I was only using at night, but now found that I can use it all day to keep me focused and in the “zone.”  It is called Sleep Machine and it can be found at: http://sleepsoftllc.com/ or Apple’s app store. It is now one of my favorite and most important apps.  Unfortunately it only works with iPhones currently.  However, I did find recently that it has the ability to stream using AirPlay to my computer or AppleTV.  The application has 80+ ambient sounds you can choose from.  You have three channels, where you can mix sounds and even adjust the sound level of each.  But what is really great is that it allows you on one of the choices to use your own music from your iTunes library that is on your phone.  So, I put together a songlist in iTunes, especially for my morning Bible study,  And these soft piano tunes are mixed with the outdoor sounds of a stream and birds.  I can either listen through AirPlay and my computer speakers, a bluetooth speaker connected to my phone or if traveling, through my phone speakers or headphones.  This helps make my prayer closet more complete as it helps me close out the world and bring God in as I read.  You can do this as well by choosing your own music or just ambient sounds with headphones. The great thing is that this environment can created most anywhere you have your phone (and even better if you have earbud headphones or sound-cancelling headphones.

While it is somewhat ironic that the name of the app is "Sleep Machine,” not to advertise this app (as I don’t sell anything or take donations on this site), but as I mentioned I use this app for morning Bible meditation, at work to focus and to go to sleep.  It has been the only app that I am aware of that has such high quality ambient sounds and allows you to mix your music along with it.  The app will let you save different mixes.  So, I have more of a classical music music with outdoor sounds for my work at the office and I have a mix of ambient sounds (one is called “Drift”) with crickets and surf sounds, that is like a sleeping tablet and just sends me off to sleep.  Yes, I may be a bit odd, keeping music and using an app so much, but I want to use whatever makes me more focused in my Bible studies (shutting out the world) and in my office for enhanced focus (keeping me from listening to others in the background) and to help me get my rest and not stay up thinking and worrying.  I hope this information is helpful to you providing suggestions and tools to allow you to set up your own prayer closet whenever and wherever you happen to be so you can focus and spend more time with Jesus and our Father.  And the app can be used by students for studying, as allows you to take your customized focus environment anywhere.  And there is no monthly subscription, rather, you just need the music you enjoy already in iTunes.

If you don’t have an iPhone, the computer version is www.calmradio.com.  Since it is subscription based, I was trying to find a cheaper alternative and Sleep Machine suited my needs.  

God bless you!