The Lord Jesus calls us to pray to God in private. We are to pray behind closed doors so that others do not hear what we say. This hidden seeking of the Lord is the first sign of new life. In the beginnings of spiritual life, one realizes his own urgent spiritual need. When someone starts to see this need, he pours out his heart to the Lord behind closed doors. Behind those closed doors, the sinner experiences forgiveness.
Prayer is very personal. The door must be closed as we pray. It may not be open even a little. A supplicant wishes to shut out all the noise of this world. Matters here are so personal that a husband cannot accept the presence of his wife. Here, a young man wishes to be alone. Even if the life of grace is glorified in the heart of a child, it will stammer its own words alone before the Lord. The inner chamber is most necessary. One cannot do without it.
Christ also needed hidden places for prayer. Often, He withdrew Himself from the circle of the disciples to pray alone. He then closed the door behind Him to be alone with the Father. If the Son of Man had need of these places, how much more, then, do sinners need the closet! Jesus had nothing to tell the Father which needed to be hidden from others. He did not have a single secret sin to confess. Christ never had to make reference to an evil deed, for He had no sin. How much more do we need the inner chamber! We have much to acknowledge that others should not know and struggles that others do not understand. There is much iniquity to confess and weep about. There are so many sins, wants, and cares that can be brought nowhere else.
There can be such blessed moments behind these closed doors. Even in darkness, light can shine in the inner chamber. Already, during prayer, it can be experienced that all the wants are laid in the hands of the Father. There can be rich moments behind those closed doors. Here, the least eloquent one does not lack words. Here, the most eloquent one realizes that many words are not important. In the inner chamber, one sigh can mean more than a thousand words. There, one tear for God can mean so much. There, people speak as children in simplicity and dependence. In the inner chamber, the heart is poured out before God. That is the sinful heart, the wicked and corrupt heart. But there, God sees the heart that desires, thirsts, and yearns for Him.
Do you know this hidden life? Without this inner chamber, you are unspeakably poor. You have no refuge, no place where your strength is renewed. Do you know these places? It may not always be light there, but you will experience that the burdens are made light. Those who know this hidden communion with God will, later on, not meet an unknown God, for they have learned to know this God in secret, in the closet, where heaven and earth are united.
From: The Everlasting Word: A Daily Devotional by Frans Bakker; translated from the Dutch and edited by Gerald Procee (Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage Books/Mitchell, Ontario: Free Reformed Publications, 2007), pp. 362-363. Meditation for July 31, on Matthew 6.6 (lightly edited).