When I married at nineteen I wasn’t prepared for the challenges of marriage much less those of motherhood. Our baby girl arrived a year and a half into our marriage and the responsibility overwhelmed me. With the slightest cold or fever, our child went into convulsions. Even the phenobarbital prescribed by the doctor didn’t help.
After many sleepless, but prayer-filled nights with a baby snuggled on my chest, I asked my church for prayer. One wise, mature woman, suggested that I pray Psalm ninety-one over my child. Though I grew up in a Bible-believing church, I found the intentional praying of Scripture new to me. But in my state of near panic, I felt ready to try anything.
He that dewelleth in the secret place of the most High, shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty . . .. became my daily prayer as I tucked my daughter into her crib. Though I didn’t fully understand the meaning of the words, the convulsions left almost immediately along with my self-centered life. From that moment on, my relationship with God took me to a place where I dug deeper into God’s Word and my prayers moved to a new level.
As I grew older and hungered for more of God, the idea of a Secret Place stirred my curiosity. I wondered where this place might be. The word secret conjures up the idea of restricted and undisclosed. Surely God wouldn’t be exclusive. What are the requirements to enter?
The Old Testament reveals God as holy, righteous and often unapproachable. Psalm 15 asks, Who may live in your sacred tent? Who may live on your holy mountain? Verse two answers the question: The one whose walk is blameless, who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from their heart. The chapter continues with an extensive list of sins that would disqualify a person from entering God’s presence. Who could enter with such strict requirements?
Yet, David, who committed murder and adultery maintained close communion with God. How did he find the secret? King David recognized his sin, humbled himself before God and confessed his unworthiness. He prayed, Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a right spirit within me. , . . Restore to me the joy of your salvation and uphold me with a willing spirit. Psalm 51:10, 12 Confession isn’t just for Sunday, but anytime we find ourselves drifting out of communion with God.
In the New Testament, Jesus paved the way for us to freely enter God’s presence. When he gave himself as a sacrifice for our sins, the veil that kept God separated from the people, was torn into from the top to the bottom, welcoming all to enter by way of the blood of the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9 (NIV)
Though Jesus made the way for us to enter a place of deeper fellowship, many are content to remain in the outer courtyard. He uses the metaphor of the vine and branches when he asks his disciples to abide in Him so our lives will reflect His character and be fruitful in His Kingdom. Yes, I am the Vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5
Every person must enter the Secret Place alone. Even in corporate worship, he often ushers us into his throne room where we are encased in His presence and transported into love, joy and peace. You make known to me the path of life, you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. Psalm 16:11 (NIV)
We find answers in the Secret Place. God reveals himself to us and makes us one with him. Our faith expands as we understand his true character. He is faithful, good, merciful, loving, kind and true. He shows us what’s on his heart and how we should pray. We see others through his eyes and we are given direction and understanding.
The Secret Place is a place of trust where we surrender everything to Him–our needs, desires, our families, friends, our lives. After all, He made us and knows our past, present and future. Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him and he shall direct thy paths. Proverbs 3:5-6 (KJV)
In His Secret Place, we aren’t slaves or servants, but friends. God called Abraham His friend, and he referred to David as a man after my own heart, which shall fulfil all my will. (Acts 13:22) Jesus said in John 15:15b Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me.
Do you want that kind of relationship? A Secret Place where you are surrounded by love, peace and joy; An intimate place where God’s presence restores, heals and strengthens? A place where you are trusted with God’s plans; a place where your words are His words and your actions become His hands extended to those around you? Let Jesus speak to you through His Word. I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. John 15:9