“ ‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.
You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.
He set himself to seek God in the days of Zechariah, who instructed him in the fear of God, and as long as he sought the Lord, God made him prosper.
In Jerusalem he made machines, invented by skillful men, to be on the towers and the corners, to shoot arrows and great stones. And his fame spread far, for he was marvelously helped, till he was strong. But when he was strong, he grew proud, to his destruction. For he was unfaithful to the Lord his God and entered the temple of the Lord to burn incense on the altar of incense.
Pride is the destroyer of an intimate and rewarding relationship with God
The temptation to seek public approval
1 “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. 2 “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. 5 “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 6 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. 7 “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. 9 Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. 10 Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread, 12 and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. 14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, 15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. 16 “And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 17 But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
“If we allow people to look to us for what only God can give, we are all set up for destruction.”
And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.
And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles.
And all who believed were together and had all things in common.
And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need.
And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts,
"Closet" prayer is fervent, uninhibited, unconditional, undistracted, intimate, and urgent.
"Closet" prayer is powerful.
Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.
"Closet" prayer is based on protecting God's name and advancing His Kingdom, rather than promoting our own agenda.
The model prayer of Matthew 6:9-13
Jesus called His followers "disciples." Being a disciple requires being disciplined, and that is what this command is all about. Biblical disciplines are designed to bring our physical desires under the control of God's Spirit, because the flesh wars against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh. Nowhere is this more challenging than in the discipline of fasting.
Fasting adds intensity to our search for God, our study of His Word, our sincerity of faith, and our surrender to Christ.
Bad spiritual practices:
Sounding the trumpet before you give
Standing in the synagogue or on the street corner
Heaping up empty phrases in prayer
Looking gloomy when you fast
Good spiritual practices:
Draw you closer to the Lord
Are often unseen by others
Cause others to praise God
Allow others to participate