Of Religious Worship and the Sabbath Day.
Chapter 22, Paragraph 6.
“…and in secret each one by himself,…”
Private devotions are the hot thing in evangelicalism right now. It is the ultimate in Christian self-care: get your mocha nice and hot, your essential oil diffuser going, colored pencils sharpened and at the ready, maybe throw in a spa treatment and – oh yeah, almost forgot about the Scripture and prayer! Such visions of a peaceful, comforting quiet time light up Instagram and make money for booksellers and coffee vendors. But despite what the Christian bookstore wants you to think, while a cup of tea with your Bible reading may be nice, it is not necessary.
To worship God individually is to set aside time to pray and praise Him. This is the Lord who “searches all hearts, and understands every intent of the thoughts” (1 Chronicles 28:9). Jesus, who knows the thoughts and intent of the heart, warned against publicly displaying private piety for all to see. Consequently, our times of devotions ought not to be ostentatious. When we come before God as the sole worshiper, all pretense is gone. We have nothing to boast about, for nothing we do can make us acceptable before Him. All is owed to God alone.
What if you do not have a time to be by yourself? Mothers of little ones (and sometimes bigger ones too!) do not often get a break. The expectation of sitting down for uninterrupted prayer can quickly lead to frustration and sin when we resent those who can have a mocha and five minutes’ quiet. Yet Christian women throughout the centuries have been able to spend time worshiping God individually without coffee, babysitters, or sometimes even a copy of the Bible. Reflecting on the passage preached on at church, pausing throughout the day to offer up prayer, singing a hymn unto the Lord in your mind, are ways to worship God alone without removing yourself from everyone around you.
Everywhere God is to be worshiped in spirit and in truth. He is to be worshiped with the body of believers, and in our own families. He is also to be worshiped in secret by ourselves. May we intentionally set our minds on things above no matter where we find ourselves.
Questions to Consider
- Do you publicize your private devotions? If so, why?