“The secret of the Lord is for those who fear Him, and H will make them know His covenant.”
Proverbs 25: 14
This powerful verse from David is rarely quoted and even less recognized in the life of a believer. This powerful truth can dramatically change and lift the believer into the abundant life He has for us.
Jeremiah Lanphier was a businessman hired by a church in downtown New York to get people to attend church. His strategy was initially rejected and didn’t sound like a winner. Still, his noon prayer meeting would birth the great awakening in America in 1857 that touched many nations and helped provoke the Second Great Awakening in Britain in 1859.
Live the life of Jesus: all else is nothing.
While Lanphier was a businessman, his heart was towards the Lord, and he understood the power and importance of dwelling in the Secret Place. Lanphier also understood that to dwell in the Secret Place, we must come with clean hands and a pure heart-
‘Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord? And who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to falsehood and has not sworn deceitfully.”
Psalm 24: 3, 4
So, how do we enter then? Lanphier explained
The Christian’s first duty is the care of his own heart. “Keep thy heart with all diligence.”
To this aid, the Christian must frequently and faithfully examine himself. He must seek a place of retirement, and explore every chamber of thy soul. “I communed with mine own heart and my spirit made diligent search.” “Know thyself.”
As we draw nigh unto Him, we see our true selves and all our flaws and failings. We must draw near in humility and holy fear and not pride.
“I will remember my song in the night; I will meditate with my heart and my spirit ponders.”
Psalm 77: 6
“Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you- unless indeed you fail the test?”
2 Corinthians 13: 5
How many of us walk in holy fear that when we think we stand, we fear we might fall? Do we stay in a place of always repenting, or do we boast in ourselves and deem ourselves always right?
Lanphier speaking of the Secret Place, said-
“Enter thy closet.” Carefully and candidly enumerate those sins which self-examination reveals. Humbly confess them. Mourn over them. This tearful penitence, this earnest wrestling to rise above besetting sins, and to cultivate “a closer walk with God,”
It is not the show we put on before the crowd but the truth with which we stand before the Master. As we gaze upon His perfection and glory, we must see the frailty of our flesh and our need for Him, His grace, and His mercy.
The Word is clear that He will draw close to us if we draw close to Him. As we do so and we recognize Him as perfect and ourselves as needing Him, we are transformed as we receive His touch. Lanphier said-
You will lose the love of sinning, become more pure-minded, more Christ-like in temper and conduct.
As time is spent in His Presence, we are lifted and begin to see and think differently. Paul explained-
“Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on the earth.”
Colossians 3: 1-2
In the Secret Place, the key is what love is in us, the love of the world or the love of the Father? The proof of the pudding is seen by what captures the attention of our eyes. If the love of the Father is in us, then we love His Word! We desire intimate fellowship with His Word. In the Secret Place, we come to hear His Word even if it offends, corrects, rebukes, or equips us. His Word is everything to us.
The Bible must be the companion of the closet. Whoever would enjoy a healthy, vigorous life, must “read, learn and inwardly digest” its wholesome aliment.
How long can we live without intimate fellowship with Him through His Word?
“Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”
Psalm 119: 105
Does His Word truly dictate our lives and direct our paths? Do we take every area of our lives, bring it, and bow it to the Word? If not, then the above verse is just a nice verse and not a truth; we are not Secret Place dwellers.
“A wise son accepts his father’s disciple, but a scoffer does not listen to a rebuke.”
Proverbs 13: 1
But we must come into the Secret Place seeking His face, not His hands. We must desire that fellowship with Him and for His touch. That means putting all else aside and coming daily into the Secret Place of His Presence, His Secret Place, that we might meet with Him. Lanphier said-
Alone with God! the universe shut out,
Earth, sense, and time, excluded and forgot;
All memories vanished of the parted past,
All prospects of the future overborne
And swallowed up in that one mighty sense,
“For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.”
1 John 2: 16
We need to allow His to expose all the wrong things, even good things, that have captured our hearts instead of Him. Many have allowed even ministry and serving Him to distract them and give them their sense of purpose and value. The truth is He must be alone, our one and only. Do we seek the intimacy of fellowship with the Beloved?
Alone with Jesus! on the Saviour’s breast Fondly to lean, and think on none but him; How oft my spirit feels lost in the crowd Of fellow-worshippers below, above, And longs, like his small band on earth, to be “Led out into a desert place alone,” To hear his voice, and share his love, as though That voice and heart of love were only mine.
Hearing His voice must become everything to us! His voice must be life and the breath in our lungs. We can sing the song about how every hour we need Him but is it the absolute truth for us. Here in such intimate dependency, He imparts to us the deep cry of our heart, and then by the Holy Spirit comes forth a true prayer of intercession. Have we learned true intercession? Lanphier said-
“And has not the church almost to learn what is the power of prayer? What conception have we of believing prayer, before which mountains depart?
We may present endless prayers, but they remain only words. But what we need is Him to sow into our hearts the seeds of intercession. Here holy desperation, righteous anger, and divine faith consume us, and we cry out for the heart of the Father. For we know His perfect will is the perfect solution. Lanphier said
What of importunate prayer, which storms heaven with its ‘violence and force?’ What of united prayer, gathering us together to ask help of the Lord? What of consistent prayer, which regards no iniquity in our hearts?
Do we walk with Him and plead with Him-
“But they urged Him, saying, ‘Stay with us, for it getting toward evening…”
Luke 24: 19
Do we cling to the Master and refuse to let Him go? Do we allow Him to impregnate us with His vision and perspective? Do we walk away broken by what breaks Him? Do we say, as Lanphier said-
I need thy presence every passing hour;
Without His touch, we allow our hearts to deceive us and opinions to captivate us. Lanphier wrote-
We are ignorant of our own ignorance. We often do ill, and do worse in excusing it. We are moved with passion, and we mistake it for zeal. We blame little errors in others, and pass over great faults in ourselves. We are quick at detecting and weighing what we suffer from others, but mind not what they suffer from us.
My heaven is to please God and glorify him; to give all to him; to be wholly devoted to his glory: that is the heaven I long for, that is my religion, and that is my happiness. Testamentary charities are no better than dead sacrifices. Hell is truth seen too late.