“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.” -Matthew 6:6 (NIV)
Often we live two lives. The first is lived out in the public realm; how we interact and behave when we are in the presence of other people. By this definition it includes everyone from our friends and those in authority over us, to even our own family members. The second is lived in the private realm. This includes what we think and believe in our individual hearts, and what we do and say when we feel that no one is watching. At times, these two lives can be completely different. What we may present to the world may not necessarily be who we really are. We may perhaps don a mask of piety and righteousness when we move in the public realm, yet go against these very things in the private realm. However, we are sadly mistaken if we think we can maintain a balancing act between these two lives. One will inevitably overpower the other, and it is much more difficult to maintain a façade than it is to act according to one’s own nature.
What is Jesus trying to say in this verse? What does it mean to go into our rooms, close our doors, and pray? He is trying to make a very specific point. God tests our hearts. Though we may say the right things and be full of good deeds when the eyes of others are upon us, He sees right through our disguises. If our hearts are far away from Christ, and are without any intention to conform ourselves to Him, then our outward actions are insincere deceptions; reminding us of our own depravity. The private realm informs the public realm. When we allow the Spirit of Christ to carry out His redemptive work in our lives, we are given a new nature. Through Him our old sinful nature is broken and we are clothed by His righteousness. By surrendering every area of the private realm to Christ’s refining work, He will manifest Himself in the public realm. In doing this God will reward us for our obedience to Him as we live within His perfect will and allow His love to overflow from within us; consuming ourselves and those we come into contact with.
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.