Lesson #1 – THE SECRET PLACE – Matthew 6:5-6

· If you were going to attend a Southern Gospel Music clinic, who would you want the teachers to be?

· If you were going to attend a preaching clinic, who would you want the preachers to be?

· If you were going to attend an eye clinic, who would you want the doctor to be?

· If you were going to attend a prayer clinic, the most logical teacher would be the Lord Jesus Christ. Why?

· Why do we need a prayer clinic?

· What would you like to learn at such a clinic?

Over the next several Wednesday nights we want to attend a prayer clinic taught by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We want to examine several of the passages in the Gospel where Jesus teaches on prayer.

· What advantage is it to have a private place for personal prayers?

· Why is it sometimes difficult to find such a place?

· What are the benefits of private personal prayer?

Matthew 6:5 – And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

· In Jesus’ day there were those who went to public places to pray. Their goal was to be seen. Why?

· Such people exist today. Where can we find them?

· Jesus says that these people have their reward. Why is this sad?

· We want to note that Jesus is not teaching against prayer meetings or public prayers. He is teaching against saying private prayers publicly.

Matthew 6:6 – But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

OVERWHELMING PRIVACY – …enter into thy closet…

· Jesus told us to go to a private chamber or closet to pray. How literally do we need to take that today? What did Jesus mean?

· What are some creative private places for prayer?

· How is praying privately a real test of our devotion?

· What are the advantages of privacy in prayer? Are there any disadvantages?

· How can we guard our prayer privacy?

OVERWHELMING PRESENCE – …pray to thy Father which is in secret;

· When we come to the father in secret, we are actually coming to “the Throne of Grace”. Hebrews 4:14-16 – Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

· God is looking for those whose hearts are perfect toward Him. 2 Chronicles 16:9 – For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him…

· The desire of our hearts should be to abide in God’s presence. Psalms 27:4 – One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple.

· There is no safer place to be than in the presence of God. Psalms 27:5 – For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.

Psalms 91:1 – He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

OVERWHELMING POWER – and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

· Why does God delight in answering our private prayers?

· What should be the motive behind our private prayers? John 14:13-14 – And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.

· Here are some more Scriptures that assure us of God’s answers to prayer. Psalms 50:15 – And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.

Jeremiah 33:3 – Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.

James 5:17-18 – Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.

1 John 5:14-15 – And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.