"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).
There has been much discussion over the centuries as to where, exactly, is this room. Should we be creating a distinct place where we pray? Dedicate the use of one room in our houses where only prayer takes place? Or a closet as some translations make of that word? As a child I attended a Church Camp for many years, one in which they sent us out into a vast field in the afternoon where we were to take our Bibles, find a solitary place, and pray. I found a tree, a big valley oak, that I liked to sit under, and lean against the trunk. When someone took that spot before I could get there, I found them to be quite unjust for taking my place, so I’d walk around and around that tree until they would be annoyed enough to get up and leave. We were forbidden to talk so the person couldn’t say anything to me; I didn’t even smile, I just took my place.
Does an actual physical place that we use every day make a difference? No. It may make the flesh feel more comfortable because it likes ritual and routine, but for the benefit of the prayer? There is none. The Samaritan woman asked Jesus to tell her where to find the best place to pray.
20 "Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.” 21 Jesus said to her, "Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. 24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth" (John 4:20–24).
The temple was in Jerusalem; which is why the Jews thought it to be the only place to worship and pray. That idea brings us face to face with a tremendous advantage we have today. The Jews had the temple, so of course they went there to pray. Jesus was often in the temple, praying.
16 Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? 17 If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are (1 Corinthians 3:16, 17).
We have the temple inside of ourselves, in our own spirit and attended by the Holy Spirit at all hours of the day or night. He’s always there. That place is inside our bodies, just as much as our souls are inside our bodies. We could say that we are the temple of God, skin to skin. We are completely filled by His Holy Spirit who is His representative as well as representing Jesus, and we are completely filled by His temple. As we walk around town, go to our jobs, cook dinner, raise children, we are carrying the temple of God wherever we go.
17 But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him. 19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? (1 Corinthians 6:17, 19).
16 . . . for you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be My people.” 18 “I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the LORD Almighty" (2 Corinthians 6:16, 18).
I thought to myself, if I have this temple in me I’d like to pay it a visit, so I asked the Lord, “Will you please show me the temple inside me where You live. You may say this is my imagination, okay, fine, but my imagination was also given to me by God. It’s how I see images so I don’t have a problem with my imagination showing me something. That something is either coming from God, or it is coming from the devil. Which side is presenting the images is easy to discern, I only have to ask myself, “Does this bring Glory to God?”
The temple the Lord presented to me looked very much like the Catholic Church in St. Tropez. I came to understand that the Holy Spirit builds each temple according to the person it will occupy and which will bring ease and understanding to that person’s life. You see, one time I was locked in that church in St. Tropez. It was noon-time and I was visiting as a tourist. There are many panels in the church with stories of past events or myths of understanding. Reading French is not exactly a zip-line for me, so I spent a goodly amount of time with each panel.
Suddenly, I became aware of an extraordinary silence, right there in the heart of a busy town. I was reading the back side of a panel, which meant I was unseen from the center of the church. When I stepped out from behind I discovered I was the only one there. The tourists were gone; the attending staff was gone. Then I realized it was noontime and the traditional two hours of closure throughout the city had begun. I walked to the door and found it locked. I couldn’t open it. I called out. No one answered. I tried the priests’ door by the altar. Also locked. I screamed. No response. No window, no door, no nothing.
On the edge of panic, I calmly asked the Lord, “I know You have a way out for me. Where is it?”
He said, “Try the King’s door.”
I wondered what on earth a King’s door would be; but as I searched, I noticed a floor to ceiling curtain against the outer wall. When I pulled it aside I found magnificent double doors, three times my height, heavily carved, and unlike the fortress effect of the common doors, these were only clasped with a hook and eye, easily opened and this queen walked out of the dark church into the bright sunlight.
But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; (1 Peter 2:9).
“And have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth" (Revelation 5:10).
So to have the front of the temple in me look like the church in St. Tropez had special significance. Those same double doors, created for only the King of France to use should he on occasion decide to drop by, were open wide, waiting for me. Since the beginning of my Christian walk I have kept journals and here and there are lists of names of people I pray for on a regular basis, so I was half surprised and half expectant to see the sanctuary filled with all the people I pray for. After all, I carry them around in my spirit. I walked to the front and did for them what I do every day and that is, by faith, I sprinkle them with the blood of Jesus, by faith I blow the wind of the Holy Spirit to fill them up again, and by faith I surround them with the fire of God. I bind them to God’s perfect will that they will fulfill their destinies and Christ will be fully formed in them. When I finished they all got up and walked out the Kings’ door. I knew tomorrow they would all be back in the sanctuary waiting for me to speak such blessings over their day again.
Only recently I happened to glance to my right and I noticed another sanctuary off to the side. When I entered I was delighted to find all the residents of the town I’ve recently moved to, Martinet. I wondered if I were to do for them the same thing I do for the names the Lord has given me and I heard Him say, “Prophesy.” I knew of one thing I wanted to speak over them.
For it is written: "As I live, says the LORD, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God" (Romans 14:11).
So I speak that over them and when I’m finished the Lord gives me something else to speak over them. When we’re finished, they all get up and go out the Kings’ door in that sanctuary. Curious, I looked to see if there was another sanctuary. In fact there were three more: the Vendee, France and the United States. In these I also prophesy what the Lord gives me; I don’t dream things up myself. I wouldn’t dare! And yes, all 70 million French citizens and all 300 million citizens of the United States are in their sanctuaries, waiting for the Lord to bless their day through me. How can that be? The realm of the Spirit has no limit.
Then I go to my chapel, tucked away, just for me. I am fortunate to be a missionary in a land of many castles. In fact, after a season of visiting some of them I decided if I had seen one, I had seen them all. Except for one factor. Every chateau has a chapel designed only for the family to use. No two chapels are alike. I’ve decided the décor demonstrates the family’s spirituality. I won’t describe the décor of my chapel, but I will tell you that the floor is very soft. It is here that I get on my knees and sometimes put my forehead on the floor. It is here that I stretch out prone to worship and to pray. It is here that I best hear the voice of God.
What is your temple like? Where is your special place? Is it readily available? The Kings’ door to the temple in me stands open all day long; so that when I need to, I can step across the threshold and be in the Spirit even as I’m running errands, or chatting with a cashier. I quite often need to know what to say next, so I can stick my head in the door and my Father will give me the words to use. But to begin my day? I am quite lost if I don’t start the day with a tour of the temple; at the end of the day I decidedly do not like the results.
Let me close with the same Scripture we started with.
6 "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. 7"And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. 8 "Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him” (Matthew 6:6–8).
Remember, prayer is a word that simply means “conversation with God.” Conversation requires listening as much as we do speaking. 50% of the time, if not more, should be deliberately listening to Him speak to you. Pray for ears that hear.