The golden pipe!
(Hannah More, "Secret Prayer")
"When you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you." Matthew 6:6
It is the indispensable duty of every Christian to pray in private. Private prayer has many advantages.
Private prayer sweetly inclines and disposes a person to a cheerful performance of every other religious duty and service. The power of godliness in the soul flourishes or decays--as the private duties of the closet are attended to or neglected.
In secret we may more freely, fully, and safely unbosom our souls to God, than we can do in the presence of others.
Private prayer is a privilege of which a Christian may at all times avail himself. No time is unseasonable for such a purpose--and no place is unfit for such devotions. There is no corner so dark--no place so secret, but God is there! He never lacks . . .
an eye to see,
an ear to hear the cries and groans,
nor a heart to grant the request--
of the one who sincerely prays to Him in secret.
There are no desires so confused--no requests so broken--no effort so feeble--as to escape His notice. The eye that God has upon His people in secret, is such a special tender eye of love as opens His ear, His heart, and His hand, for their good. "The eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers." Psalm 34:15
Should their petitions be feeble and faint, and seem to them scarcely to reach the heavens--He will graciously bow down His ear, and attend to the prayer from sincere lips. He knows the intentions of the heart. He perceives the motions of the soul. He records them all in the book of His remembrance, and will one day openly reward all these secret transactions!
He who would have . . .
his soul athirst for God,
public ordinances delightful to his soul,
his drooping spirits refreshed,
his weak faith strengthened,
his strong corruptions subdued, and
his affections set on heavenly things--
should be frequent and fervent in secret prayer.
How strong in grace,
how victorious over sin,
how dead to the world,
how alive to Christ,
how fit to live,
how prepared to die--
might many a Christian have been--had he more diligently, seriously, and conscientiously discharged the duties of the closet!
The true Christian loves to pray secretly, and values such exercises for the effect they have on him in . . .
humbling the soul,
weaning the heart from the world,
rendering the mind more spiritual, and
exalting the Savior in the affections.
There is no means of grace more enriching to the soul than private prayer. It is the golden pipe, through which the Lord is graciously pleased to convey all spiritual blessings to the soul.
Thus the Christian, withdrawn for a season from the world, and realizing the immediate presence of God, the solemness of eternity, and the vast importance of heavenly things--prays to his Father, who sees in secret. He gets more humbling views of himself, and makes fresh discoveries . . .
of the exceeding sinfulness of his sin,
of the super-aboundings of Divine grace,
of the boundless patience of the Lord,
of the unfathomable grace He has bestowed on him,
of the astonishing deliverances He has wrought for him, and
of the abundant mercy which is treasured up in Christ Jesus for all true believers.
How lamentable it is, that a duty so obvious, a privilege so great, a means of grace so enriching to the soul--should ever be neglected!