The Secret Garden of Prayer
Julia Bettencourt

"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." Matthew 6:6


Bible Passage: Matthew 6:5-13

I have always loved the story of "The Secret Garden" by Frances Hodgson Burnett. It is one of those classic books that are a real treasure. I can remember reading it to my oldest daughter and I have the video of one of the movies made from the book which we pull out and watch once in awhile. My favorite part I guess is how the girl, Mary Lennox, of the book, and her sick cousin find pleasure and even healing within the garden walls.

Isn't that so like the "garden of prayer"? As Christians we can find so much pleasure there and yes, even healing as the "Son" shines on us and breathes life into us.

  • The Secret Garden Had a Key.
    Do you remember in the book, "The Secret Garden" there was a lost key to the garden and Mary found it and placed it into the gate to enter? We have a key to our prayer garden too. We open the gate by communication with our Heavenly Father.

  • The Secret Garden Was in Need of Repair.
    When the story begins in the book, the garden has been neglected and run down. Has your prayer garden ever gotten that way? Thorns and weeds overtaking it?

    Remember how hard Mary worked to clear the garden so that growth could take place? I know sometimes I have to go clearing the brush and debris from my own prayer garden. It takes a little work and is something that constantly needs attention.

  • The Secret Garden Needed to be Used.
    When no one was using that secret garden in the book, it naturally went downhill. No one was there to tend to it. No one really cared. When we don't spend time in our prayer garden, it becomes a desolate place as well.

  • The Secret Garden Grew Beautiful.
    After all the hard work put into that secret garden, it began to bloom and grow in beauty. That is so like our prayer gardens. Our prayer life depends upon what we put into it. It is like anything else in life. We get out of something what we put into it.

    Conclusion:
    What stands out to me most in this story of "The Secret Garden", is that the garden didn't become beautiful overnight. Little by little as the garden was worked, it began to take shape and grow in beauty.

    Christ gives us the example of how to work on our prayer gardens in Matthew 6:5-13. He covers everything in that prayer from acknowledging God, praying for ourselves, praying for others, and so on.

    There's an old hymn that I love the words of,

    The Beautiful Garden of Prayer

    There’s a garden where Jesus is waiting,
    There’s a place that is wondrously fair;
    For it glows with the light of His presence,
    ’Tis that beautiful garden of prayer.


    Refrain:
    Oh, the beautiful garden, the garden of prayer,
    Oh, the beautiful garden of prayer;
    There my Savior awaits, and He opens the gates
    To the beautiful garden of prayer.

    There’s a garden where Jesus is waiting,
    And I go with my burden and care
    Just to learn from His lips words of comfort,
    In the beautiful garden of prayer.

    There’s a garden where Jesus is waiting,
    And He bids you to come meet Him there;
    Just to bow, and receive a new blessing,
    In the beautiful garden of prayer.


    Eleanor A. Schroll

    When I think about the words to that hymn, it hits me hard how much I miss by neglecting my prayer garden. Prayer and fellowship with our Lord can be so sweet. Just talking and communing with Him can help us so much.

    I don't want to be locked out of my own garden of prayer by just not going there. It is where I gain so much. It is where I learn, plead, cry, ask forgiveness, drop my burdens, and am encouraged.

    So, have you misplaced the key to your prayer garden?

    Copyright ©2012 Julia Bettencourt
    Scripture References are from the King James Version.
    www.juliabettencourt.com



    Related Pages:
  • The Secret Garden Women's Ministry Theme
  • Quiet Time Handout (on blog)
  • Seeds of Kindness Devotional
  • More Devotionals by Julia
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