Summary: As we spend time in the secret place of prayer – in solitude, silence, and soaking and Scripture meditation – we are transformed into the image of Jesus.
SPIRITUAL FORMATIONS #2: SECRETS OF THE SECRET PLACE
KEY TEXT: “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, "He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.” (Psalm 91:1-2).
THE BIG IDEA: As we spend time in the secret place of prayer – in solitude, silence, and soaking and Scripture meditation – we are transformed into the image of Jesus.
REVIEW TEXT: (John 15:4-5).
“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.”
• The first spiritual formation is prayer – abiding in Jesus in the secret place.
1. SOLITUDE: Review this point from last week.
• Solitude is spending time with Jesus alone in the secret place of prayer.
• “But you, when you pray, go into your room, 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).
• Silence is spending time with Jesus listening in the secret place of prayer.
“Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10, NKJV).
“Step out of the traffic! Take a long, loving look at me, your High God.” (Ps. 46:10; Message).
• Too often in prayer we do all the talking and don’t pause to listen.
• God wants to speak to us and give us encouragement, wisdom and direction in our lives:
“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” (John 10:27).
• We need to take the time to listen to what the Spirit of the Lord is saying to our lives.
• Part of the work of the Holy Spirit is to convict us and show us areas we need to work on.
QUOTE: The secret place “is the place of conversion, the place where the old self dies and the new self is born… (where) I get rid of my scaffolding: no friends to talk with, no telephone calls to make, no meetings to attend… just me – naked, vulnerable, weak, sinful, deprived, broken – nothing.” (Henri Nouwen).
• This is why it’s good to get silent in solitude – so we can hear God speak to our hearts.
“1 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. 2 Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3 And one cried to another and said: "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory!" 4 And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke. 5 So I said: "Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, The Lord of hosts."” (Isaiah 6:1-5).
• When we get alone in the secret place, God can speak to our hearts and give us direction:
• “Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: "Whom shall I send, And who will go for Us?" Then I said, "Here am I! Send me.” (v.8).
• Soaking is spending time with Jesus abiding in His love.
• “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love.” (John 15:9).
• What is soaking? Definition: to lie in and become saturated or permeated with water or some other liquid. If we aren’t soaking in His love, we become cracked and dry.
• Soaking in the secret place means to come into your prayer closet with no agenda but let Jesus pour out His love on you.
• “Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” (Romans 5:5).
• When we neglect our personal quiet time with Jesus, we get disappointed and lose hope.
EXAMPLE: We need to press in and draw near to Jesus, and not let go until He blesses us…
“24 Then Jacob was left alone; and a Man wrestled with him until the breaking of day. 25 Now when He saw that He did not prevail against him, He touched the socket of his hip; and the socket of Jacob's hip was out of joint as He wrestled with him. 26 And He said, "Let Me go, for the day breaks." But he said, "I will not let You go unless You bless me!" 27 So He said to him, "What is your name?" He said, "Jacob." 28 And He said, "Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed." 29 Then Jacob asked, saying, "Tell me Your name, I pray." And He said, "Why is it that you ask about My name?" And He blessed him there. 30 And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: "For I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved."” (Genesis 32:24-30).