Friday, June 10, 2005

Pray to thy Father in secret

But thou, when thou prayest,
enter into thy closet,
and when thou hast shut thy door,
pray to thy Father which is in secret;
and thy Father which seeth in secret
shall reward thee openly.

There was a time when I thought I could not turn to God. I became pregnant after a weekend with a friend, I thought this disqualified me from God's love and help. But my fear got the better of me, and I had nowhere else to turn. I've written about other aspects of this time in my life before, but what I want to focus on today is how God responded when I confessed my situation to Him and asked for help.

One of the things I was most concerned with in my initial fear was how this pregnancy would be received by those who knew me, and by those who didn't. Would I be judged? Would the baby be judged, perhaps be considered less of a person because of my marital status?

So when in answer to my prayers for help I only felt God's great love, I gained the courage to bring up this question. What could I do to protect my baby from being hurt by my mistake?

And God's response was, You made a mistake then, but you're not making one now.

I had decided to keep the baby, you see. In my heart of hearts, I felt this was the only option. I wanted my child from the moment I knew about the pregnancy.

And the passage above from Matthew came to mind. I think this was the first time I really had prayed to God in secret. I had told no one about the pregnancy yet, not even the father. I had thrown myself into God's care first, and He was strengthening me.

From this prayer, I got this clear comforting message that God could see into my heart. He knew how I really felt about this baby, and He knew my deep desire to do right. He knew the sincerity of my internal promise to stop the self-destructive behavior that had gotten me into this situation, and He accepted that as enough.

I felt the truth of the words, Thy Father who seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

To me, this meant that everything would be okay. I'd be able to support us, I'd be able to handle whatever came my way from friends and family, and I'd be able to make the changes I needed to give my child a stable, happy home. There would be open acknowledgement of my secret connection to God.

This is over 14 years ago now, and it's all come true. The self-destructive behavior dropped away, I don't even miss it. I couldn't now ask for a better life; each day brings new occasions for gratitude.

All because of that simple spiritual law that Jesus shared with us so long ago.

The Father in secret is unseen to the physical senses, but He knows all things and rewards according to motives, not according to speech. (Science and Health)

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