Our lives are hid with Christ in God. Prayer is being present with God. We enter the closet and shut our doors to other things. The intensity of His Name
and Spirit brings us into the Shadow of the Almighty. (Psalm 91:1; Matthew 10:39-41; 6:6)
Speaker: Thomas Schaller, Gary Groenewold, James Bryson
6:30 PM on 11/5/2023
P. Schaller –
It is well with my soul. Wow. It is well. Is it well with your soul? Praise the Lord. Today’s the international day of
prayer for the persecuted church, and I’d like to share a few things about prayer tonight. First, I
want you to have a good attitude and rejoice a lot. That’s what we did, and we have a good
attitude, amen! We have the Spirit of God with us and the fellowship of the Trinity, the Father,
Son, and Holy Spirit. We enjoy having P. Chris Moore with us here this weekend, right down
front. And we’re really glad Michael Staples and Suzanne – here they are. What faithful people
they are. We love you guys. Glad that Jesse Feyers is happily married. There he is back there
with a big smile.
Let’s look at Psalm 91:1. So, what is the secret place of the Most High? What is that, the secret
place of the Most High? Turn to Matthew 10:38-41. The secret place of the Most High. We have the
Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. These three are one. They’re one and we are brought
into that presence, presence of God and have fellowship with God. Your life – we have died,
and your life is hid with Christ in God. Colossians 3 teaches us that. Your life is hid with Christ in God.
Are we in Christ? Yes, we are. Do we have fellowship with the Father? Yes, we do. Do we have
the Holy Spirit dwelling within us? Yes, we have. Well then, why do we struggle with – why do
we struggle with ourselves? Why do we struggle in life? Why do we struggle with our self-life,
our self-absorption, our self-occupation, or boredom?
Let’s turn to Matthew 6, please. Here’s prayer. Matthew 6:6, what is a closet? Yes, it’s a secret place. It’s a
place where nobody else is. Are you alone in the closet? There’s not room. Enter into your
closet. When you pray, you’re alone. And this meaning, the meaning here is when you pray you
enter into your own space. Nobody is there. That’s where people have their problems. They
have a very hard time being alone. Because if I am not in the presence of God, then I feel that I
am wasting my time or I feel that I am alone and that’s not good. I need some noise,
background noise. I need people talking.
Sometimes if I’m alone in a house, I would turn the TV on just to have the background noise or
put on music or you know, something like that. You put that up to what prayer is. Prayer is
presence. Prayer is presence of God. Prayer is I can go into a closet and be alone and it’s okay. I
don’t have any noise. I don’t have another person to talk to. It’s okay because I have God. But
God, how do you touch God? How is God in the room with you? How is he in the room with
you? He is.
Because like Matthew 10 says, if you take up your cross, you gain your life. You gain the presence of
God through the cross. But if I love my life, then actually I’m alone without God. Yes, I’m saved.
I’m not talking about salvation. I’m talking about this exercise of faith and prayer. Enter your
closet. That means that I’m alone with God. How does that work? It’s in my mind. It’s in my
heart. It’s in my spirit.
Then, the next part of it is this one. It’s a very good one because there’s two things here. One is
closet and the other one is shut the door, vs. 6. When you have shut the door. Shut the door.
What is shut the door mean? It means exclusivity and inclusivity. You know, you ever think of a
fence, you know. Here’s the idea of a fence. What is a fence? It is inclusive and exclusive, isn’t
it? When you’re in here, there are things on the outside and there are things on the inside. In
prayer, there are things that are on the inside and there are things that you exclude. You shut
the door. You shut the door in your mind. In your mind, you filter.
That’s out. This is in. What is it that is in? It is the meditation that is acceptable. It is the person of God that you
respond to in your heart. You receive and respond. You receive and you respond. It’s a
relationship. It sounds mechanical and I don’t mean it mechanical though it sounds mechanical.
But I mean it like in anything you love. If you’re in the presence of your dog that you love your
dog, there is initiation/response. There’s relationship with a friend or a child or your spouse or
God has made himself available and our part is the cross. The cross means there’s something
excluded that’s not accepted in God’s presence. My flesh is not accepted in his presence. It’s
not about us. It’s about him. It’s about love and truth. And our minds aren’t this way. Isaiah 55
says my thoughts are not your thoughts. So, what is Jesus saying? My thoughts are not your
thoughts, so when you pray, come into the closet, and shut the door. And be in my presence
and think my thoughts and relate to my person and enjoy my person, my thoughts, my heart,
my purpose, my plan. Enjoy me. And you will gain your life. But if we’re out here in life no closet
and no shutting the door, what do you think is going to happen?
Let me repeat it. I’m in a natural life. I have no closet and I don’t shut any door. What do you
think is going to happen to me in regards to prayer? What will happen? My prayers will be save
me, help me, answer me. I need a parking spot near the – I need, you know, $1000. I need a
better car. Help me. I say my prayers. And that’s fine. I’m not making fun of it. I’m just saying
there is such a thing as prayer that is so enjoyable, that is so real, that when people find it, it
actually shakes their life and they become absolutely moved by the reality of it. And they go,
wow! I am literally in the very presence of Almighty God, and he is hearing me. He is hearing
Two things we have mistakes about regarding prayer. One is time. We think prayer is about
time. How long did you pray for? How much have you prayed? How much? It’s time and also
frequency of prayers. These are two things that are common, but I want you to think about this
for a few minutes.
What about we are in the presence of God and we’re praying. A couple more words here. Keep
this in mind. We’re come back to that. We’re praying in his name. In his name. It’s big. We pray
in his name. Do you know what it means to me? That I don’t hear time or frequency. I hear in his name. What I hear is intensity. I hear authority. That’s what I hear. When you pray, you pray
in his name. I am praying in his name. Thank you, Jesus. We have authority with God. How
much did you pray? I don’t know. How often do you pray? I don’t know. I pray. I’m just in the
closet. I shut the door and that means stuff in my mind I shut the door and right now, I’m not
occupied with that stuff. That’s not my business. I’m in the presence of Almighty God and I’m
praying in his name and that moves mountains. In his name.
The second thing that we read in the Scripture is that we pray in the Spirit. Another phrase for intensity. It could be very simple and quiet, but you are in communion with God in the Spirit,
and you ask. And when you say “amen” you are serious about it. In Jesus’ name. Amen. That’s
how we do it. that’s beautiful.
I really believe – this is international day of prayer for the persecuted church, and I believe that
our sisters and brothers in the world need prayer. I have to be, I really believe maybe just to
make a contrast here, I really believe that this fellowship we have in God – this one – this is very
different from when I’m alone on the outside and I maybe in a religious way say prayers. A lot
of times we quit when we have this kind of prayer life. When we have this kind, we are moved
by it. We pray and we’re in it. We’re in the presence of God.
This man here, he knows he should pray but he’s not so excited about it. He knows he should
pray, but he doesn’t want to be unrealistic. He doesn’t want to pretend. But it’s not so real to
him, so he quits. I know I should pray for the people in Iran, North Korea and other places, but
to be honest, I can say those prayers, but they are a little bit mechanical. And Jesus says yeah, I
know. I know. I know what you’re saying, but if you could go into the closet and shut the door
and wait upon me, meditate upon me, relate to me, respond to me, love me, thank me, I will
give you prayers.
And the Holy Spirit will intercede in you and through you and you will say prayers and these
prayers are the prayers of Elijah prayed those prayers. Remember in James 5 and he says in
praying he prayed. Praying he prayed. It’s something like this in the Greek. It’s like he prayed
fervently. It’s translated in the King James but in praying in prayed. That’s like this one here, this
picture here. He was in the very presence of God praying and in his praying he prayed, and it
was done. And rain came.
I heard about a governor in Georgia. This was some years ago. There was a drought in Georgia.
America. On the southeast and the governor called for prayer, and it rained that day. It hadn’t
rained for sixty days or something. There was a problem. But he called for prayer, and he
prayed, and it happened.
When Paul was saved the Lord said to Ananias, go and pray for Saul for he prayeth. Yeah. So,
there is a prayer. It’s for all of us. I don’t think anybody – we’re not talking that anybody has a corner on it or better than anybody else. But I’m just trying to help us as I think about it myself
and think about this kind of prayer where you actually could be so excited about it. Because in
his presence is the fullness of joy. In the secret place of the Most High. He abides under the –
how does it go? He that abides in the secret place of the Most High, what? Okay. I couldn’t
hear. Will what? Abides under the shadow of the Almighty.
You guys are awesome. You’re awesome. Thank you. Thank you. Under the shadow of the Almighty.
I would love it if you and I would find this kind of prayer as a way of life. And you know, I got
this little piece that provoked me in the message tonight. There are “two parallels to be
avoided. One is emotional unreality.” I’ve had that. I could get worked up about something but
it’s emotional and I’m not sure that it’s real. You know, we have to pray for this and kind of get
worked up about it and so on, but it may not be real, and I can’t live in that.
The other is intellectual preoccupation. “ An earnest believer whose religious enthusiasm found
expression in service for the church…was convicted of prayerlessness. He earnestly resolved to
spend half an hour a day every day in private prayer. At the end of a month, he gave it up
because he could not endure the sense of unreality. He could not talk or meditate half an hour
every day when there was no one there. There was not only no sense of a presence, but there
was a very real consciousness of an absence. There can be no experience of heart speech and
soul fellowship without a consciousness of God’s presence. The soul cannot keep up an
emotional make believe day after day.”
That’s why we quit praying, cause we are kind of alone and feel it. And we kind of make it up
and we say it kind of mechanically or do it religiously, but then we kind of quit it because I can’t
be unreal. My answer, our answer, our biblical answer to this problem, to that man if he was
sitting here who quit it; we would say don’t give up. But don’t pretend. Be very honest. If you
don’t feel God’s presence, tell him. Talk to God. Relate to God. God is not a liar. God is for you.
Wait upon him. Listen to him. Meditate on what he says. Mix faith with it.
This is real. This is real. This is the Lord speaking to us. And in his presence in the secret place of
the Most High, you will abide under the shadow of the Almighty. And God will be saying to you
in your heart, I am answering your prayer. I am with you. Rejoice in me. In my presence is the
fullness of joy. I hear you. I answer you. I initiate to you. Respond to me. Accept what I say. Be
stirred up in the reality of who I am. You are talking to God, the only wise God.
That is how we stay out of being familiar. This is very common problem, this one here. This is a common thing
in Christian faith that people go through the motions, and they don’t have the experience.
But you are people, you, and I, are people that labor to be in the secret place of the Most High
by relating to him in our heart. Taking up the cross. And bringing to him everything and trusting
him, responding to him, waiting on him. Reading the Scripture. Believing and asking. And we
ask and we receive. And that’s amazing.
Thanks for your amazing prayers. I believe if we can live this way all our lives, there’s no good
thing he will withhold from us. There’s nothing he will hold back. He will answer us. He will visit
us. He will help us. He will visit us. He will answer us, and we’ll have this compulsion and desire
in our hearts. We will not quit because we are bored. We’ll be motivated even more because
we are excited about him in our hearts. Amen.
P. Gary Groenewold –
This is a great topic tonight. Praying in the Holy Spirit. We’re going to
conclude tonight with some prayer. Before we do that, I want to say a few words. Where could
we be challenged to a place or encouraged to a place where we can actually pray like this and
have these thoughts. This is not natural. The Holy Spirit is moving in our hearts to actually have
this opportunity of this activity in our lives and to see the fruit of it and to see the value of it
and the intimacy of it with God. This is really an incredible wave that we’re hearing today of
motivation, of our eyes being opened to this opportunity of prayer.
I was thinking where could I be told about this that this is actually a part of life and actually to
be maybe weaned from that mechanical means of prayer. This is something where we are
continually saying God, please. I want that. I desire that. I’m thankful that we have such an
emphasis on prayer. Really no one should be condemned, obviously, but it is something. It’s a
desire in our hearts to have what we are talking about tonight.
Actually, one of – P. Chris is here – but one of my greatest pictures in my mind is, that
encourages me, happened where P. Chris used to live in the neighborhood where I lived. He
was going around the neighborhood up and down the streets like praying and worshipping God.
Like lifting his hands and lifting his voice and somebody called the cops on him! And that was a
true story. It’s in my mind and it is. It’s literally one of those things where like, you know, you
say I want that, or I desire that. You know, I want to have that in my life.
I got this little thing around my house when I walk around. Four corners I have different stations
of prayer, you know, around the house. It’s like you can stop and you can pray at different
corners. I just want to share a couple verses here. 1 Peter 3 is about prayer. Vs. 7. This means
wives. Speaks about honor. It speaks about unity. It speaks about oneness. And what happens?
That your prayers be not hindered. This isn’t just a small area of our life in marriage. But it’s in
all areas of our life to develop this confidence of the spiritual man that is actually praying. The
carnal man saying get me out of this trouble shouldn’t just be our prayers. Or I wish I shouldn’t
do that, or will you forgive me again, God? But we can actually have a spiritual man prayer and
live in the spiritual life.
It says this in vs. 12. The eyes of the Lord are over the righteous. He sees him in his closet. It’s
amazing. And then there is a resistance to those that are evil. It’s beautiful to live in
righteousness. To suffer for righteousness’ sake and to have the prayers of a righteous man and see them avail much and have this confidence that comes from a righteous life and praying to
God and asking God.
I just want to close with a word in Revelations 4, chapter 5 actually. I’m going to read a few verses
here. Just a few words we love to say. This is John in the Spirit. This is John on the isle of Patmos
but in the Spirit and these amazing things are happening in his life. Revelation 5:1-6. I just love that
picture of the Lamb. He’s still slain. What an identity he carries forever. Vs. 6-8. They reached
heaven. They were men in a closet. Women in a closet. And their prayers went to heaven, and
they reached heaven, and they went into vials for the saints. Prayers are remembered. Prayers
work. Prayers go upward. Prayers don’t have to bounce off the ceiling. They can continue to
heaven, and they do. Prayers of a righteous man. Prayers of the saints.
Vs. 9. Sometime that happens after prayers. Here it is. Out of every kindred, and tongue, and
people and nation. This is the scope by the grace of God our ministry. Every nation. Every
tongue. Every kindred. Vs. 10. Wow! We got some activity to do. We’re priests and we’re kings
and we reign on the earth. Let’s finish the chapter. I’ll just skip. Revelation 6:1. I just love thinking
about that Lamb that was slain. And he’s the only one worthy to open up this book with the
seven seals on it. The title deed. The Kinsman Redeemer.
What does it have to do with prayer? He’s the one that we go into fellowship with, the Lamb
that was slain. This Almighty One we speak to. We’re in his presence. He’s the Redeemer of
every nation, every kindred, and every tongue. I just want the – maybe the foreign students if
they could come up here, please. If you are foreign student and you are here in Bible college,
come on up. P. Mohib also. If you can come up and be with us.
Just as they come up, I was able to recently be with a church in the Far East just on an internet
call. Just to see and to know the struggle that they go through to actually assemble, and to
somehow – like we assemble here together and look how much encouragement we receive
tonight. It’s like we’re in another world. We’re so encouraged. We’re so filled with like these
thoughts the Holy Spirit wants to teach us. We gather together. We’re with our friends. And
they’re not able to do that because of persecution. Just think of what we get from gathering
together. That’s one of our prayers for people. So many countries where you cannot gather
together. You could say there’s fear. There’s fear of gathering together. People have to hide to
gather together. People have to be in secret when they gather together. People have to not tell
a family member when they gather together. This gathering together is so important in our
Here we see kindred tongue, nation, coming from Poland. We have India. We have South Korea,
Finland, Hungary, Albania, India, and Finland. Isn’t that amazing that we go into the world.
We’re thinking in prayers for the world. You know, to go. We have a Bible college that teaches,
and it gives us a word in our heart. We’re praying about going into another nation, into these nations to encourage the saints. You know, cause we really do believe there was a Lamb that
was slain before the foundations of the earth, and he is the Redeemer of people’s souls.
And so tonight, I’m going to have P. Mohib if you can come over maybe.
Maybe just pray for churches. The message that we heard tonight like personally I’m just saying I want that. I want
that in my life. I don’t want the mechanical. I want where the door is shut. And may our prayer
be for our prayer life. Have you ever had that prayer? A prayer for a prayer life. O God, give me
a prayer life. And may our prayers corporately send up prayers to heaven that are in the vials.
They count. They change somebody’s life. They bring us salvation. They change situation. They
reverse something that is evil.
May God give us that authority. They effect a family. They effect a community. They effect a
city. They effect a nation. May our prayers – pray for the harvest field. They’re white and ready
for harvest. May our prayers pray for that. In every way we can and in any way we can. They
can be so diverse here. Just how we can be involved in the work of God in prayer. And also this
abundance, this abundance, this fullness in our life. That we can ask for God, for us personally.
For us personally to have. It’s not to bless me. I’m personally in the presence of God.
So, we’re just thinking of the persecuted church, and maybe P. Mohib, if you can just pray for
the persecuted church today. (Prayer). Okay. Amen. Amen. Just thinking of that film that we
saw this morning, maybe my prayers can effect a child. Maybe my prayers can establish an
orphanage. Maybe my prayers can deliver a girl from being trafficked. Maybe my prayers can
encourage a pastor to have wisdom from subtle persecution or direct persecution. Maybe my
prayers could start a church in a Muslim nation. Maybe my prayers could bring students from a
persecuted area around the world to Bible college in Baltimore. Maybe my prayers could effect
a church in Pakistan and protect them from danger, from eradication. Maybe my prayers could
Put a face, put a face to your prayers. Let’s dream dreams of prayers as we pray. As we heard
the message tonight, God please give us a prayer life. Teach us to pray. Please, teach us to pray.
God, to close the door in the closet and pray to our Father in heaven. God, we thank you. We
thank you we are in a place where we can be encouraged to talk to you, to listen to you, to
speak to you, to have a conversation with you. God, thank you. Thank you for what you did in
our hearts tonight. We thank you. Thank you. Bless Bob Seigel as he goes to Brazil. God, bless
his ministry, his life, his abundant life to share there. God, give him secrets in his heart to share
and put secrets in his heart that he keeps forever. God, we thank you. We thank you that we
are saints, and we send prayers to heaven in vials. They’re stored there. They’re remembered
there. We thank you. God, in Christ’s name. Amen.
Please enjoy these sermon notes from the messages preached at Greater Grace Church in Baltimore. These notes are provided to aid in your study and understanding of the Word. Note that these notes do not represent complete, word-for-word transcriptions. Also, they may contain omissions as well as some errors in spelling and structure, etc., as we attempt to provide them as soon as possible. Our hope is that these notes serve as a way to help you search and connect with messages on related subjects and passages. Thank you for your interest in the ministry of Greater Grace.