Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: We can have personal and corporate places designated for our prayers. Ultimately we reveal ourselves to God in our prayers -- right from the heart.

1. Closets

Some things really changed between the former generations and the kids of the last generation.

A grandma was keeping/ babysitting her grandson Dirk. Dirk followed her into the bedroom as she puts up things away in the closet.

"Grandma," he said, "what room is this?" "This is a closet, Dirk," she explained. "We don't have a room like this in our house," he said. "Of course you do," she said, "You have lots of closets in your home."

When he again denied having closets in his house, she tried another tack. "Where do you keep all your clothes?" she asked.

A true child of the times, he replied, "In the dryer."

Dirk isn't the only person who doesn't know much about closets. Many Christians don't act like they have one either.

2. Power in Prayer

* James Duncan, preaching with great earnestness and power, was asked the secret of such powerful preaching. "The secret," he said, was "thirteen hours of consecutive prayer."

* When asked the secret of his spiritual power, Charles Spurgeon said: "Knee work! Knee work!" (Today he would have said "Knee Mail.").

* Livingston of Shotts, on two different occasions, preached with such power that in each service 500 were converted. Both sermons were preceded by a night of prayer.

* Charles Finney, after spending a day in the woods in prayer and fasting, preached that night in a phenomenally irreligious congregation. The sermon was accompanied by such divine power that the whole congregation, except one man, fell prostrate upon the floor, and voiced their agony under conviction of sin, in such loud outcries that the preacher was forced to stop.

3. Matthew 6.6 6 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.

4. Why would Jesus tell us to meet with God in a "Prayer Closet"/Meeting Room?

I. The Prayer Closet is a Place of Meeting

A. Places of Meeting with God

1. Adam and Eve in Garden

2. Moses' Tent of Meeting

3. High Priest and Most Holy Place

B. Our Meeting Place -- Prayer Closet

1. Private Prayer closet

The word for closet, tamion, in the Greek, appears four times. It can mean "inner rooms" (Luke 12.3, NASB) or "storeroom" (Luke 12.24, KJV, NASB, NIV). It is clear that a private chamber for solitary prayer is not the only meaning. It would appear that this would indicate a room large enough for corporate meetings.

In old places of royalty -- King's Closet was a meeting room.

2. Corporate Prayer Closet -- The obvious historical application is seen in Acts 1.12-2.1 where the disciples are seen in an upper room, out of the public eye, in extended group prayer, choosing Matthias to replace Judas. Additional instances: Acts 4.23-31; 12.12-17; 13.1-3

II. The Prayer Closet is A Place of Solitude -- No Distractions

A. Jesus Modeled Prayer in His Life -- Public and Private

* Luke 5.16 16 But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray.

* 6.12 12 In these days he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God.

* 11.1 Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, "Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples."

* 22.39 39 And he came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed him.

B. Away from Crowds We Can Focus on God -- Matthew 25.10 (Ten Virgins)

10 And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut.

1. A Matter of Preparation

2. A Matter of Appreciation

Psalm 86.11-13

11 Teach me your way, O LORD,

that I may walk in your truth;

unite my heart to fear your name.

12 I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart,

and I will glorify your name forever.

13 For great is your steadfast love toward me;

you have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.

III. The Prayer Closet is A Place of Safety

John 20.19-24

19 On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, "Peace be with you." 20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you." 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld."

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