Time Alone With God daily devotionals

Time Alone With God daily devotionals

By Pastor Phil Stout

Read: Matthew 6:5-6

Matthew 6:5-6

New International Version (NIV)

5 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 6 But 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.


Consider: One of the great pitfalls that we are subject to on our journey with Christ is the performance trap. Even though we believe in God’s grace and we know that we don’t earn his favor, we are constantly tempted to measure our walk with him in terms of the things we accomplish. We’re tempted to see holiness as something we attain by doing the right things and avoiding the wrong things. In fact, Christians often ask each other, “How are you doing spiritually?”

This “doing” and “accomplishing” often invades our most intimate moments with God. We wonder if we’re spending enough time alone with God, if we are praying in a way that pleases him, if we are doing it correctly. We think our spiritual disciplines don’t measure up to those of other believers. We chastise ourselves for being too shallow. And, if we’re not careful, we sabotage all that he wants to do for us because we trying to do it ourselves.

This perfectionism—sometimes called “moralism”—is not what prayer is about. Prayer is practicing the presence of Christ in our lives. Prayer is living with an awareness of his presence and gratitude for his presence. Prayer was beautifully described when Paul said…

“…in him we live and move and have our being.” (Acts 17:28)

So how do we escape the performance trap?

“…when you pray, go into your room, close the door…” (Matthew 6:6).

Close the door on false expectations. Close out the “relationship rules” you or others have placed on prayer. Stop making prayer something you do and accept it as the gift of his presence—the presence he gives, not something you attain.

The door is closed. No one is looking or judging. You are alone with the One who already accepted you. Nothing to earn. Nothing to prove. Enjoy your time alone with God.

Pray: Thank the Lord for inviting you into his life.

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