“But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen.” (Matthew 6:6a)

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Matthew 7:7-8)

Do you notice the common thread between these two texts? Jesus speaks of doors in both sections. In the first, Jesus tells his disciples to close the door. In the second, he challenges them to knock on the door. The strange contrast gives us insight into the nature of private prayer.

Jesus is talking about a physical door in the first passage. In most ancient Jewish homes, there would only be one small room with a door. That door represented privacy and seclusion. The second passage seems to be more metaphoric. Together the images suggest a better chance of open communication behind a physical closed door

Prayer behind a closed-door demands a more honest faith; the ceiling cannot be impressed by your eloquence. Either your words terminate in the room, or they reach the ears of God almighty.

Where is your closed door? Remember, the physical closed door is a metaphor for private prayer. Your “closed-door” might look more like a walk alone or silent drive. The point is to find a place to speak and hear unfettered by impression and distraction.

By Aaron Bjorklund