|Oh, to be like Superman. To step into that phone booth as mild-mannered Clark Kent and step out as Superman — fit, flamboyant, ready to fly off and change the world!
But here I am, weary and worried, stepping into my prayer closet and later stepping out — same old me, still weary and worried. Clark Kent is transformed. I’m not.
Forget the closet. I want a phone booth.
Friends, it’s not the closet. It’s me.
I’m not in there alone. I’m with God Almighty, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and I play the part of Clark Kent, the reporter.
I report the news. I tell what’s happening. I provide all the details. I fill the closet with words.
They’re broke, God. They need money. He’s gotta find a job.
Dear Jesus, she’s terribly sick. There’s so much she should be doing.
It’s the big game. The team has worked hard, Lord. They really want to win.
Good little reporter that I am, I don’t just describe what’s happening. I tell God what needs to happen.
This job is perfect for him, Jesus. They have to hire him.
Heal her, Lord. Get her back to work.
Dear God, give them the victory. They deserve it.
One day, I step into the closet, more distressed and dejected than usual.
This is such a mess! I don’t know what they should do. You’re the all-seeing, all-knowing God. You tell me.
I sense God’s response:
Ah, you’re catching on.
Who am I to tell God what to do? He’s omniscient and omnipresent. I can’t tell Him anything He doesn’t already know.
I learn to check my Clark-Kent self at the closet door. I speak less and listen more. God grants me glimpses from His perspective.
He loves money too much.
She needs to be still and know that I am God.
They want that trophy more than they want Me.
I’ve been stepping into my prayer closet and asking God to save the day Superman-style, to provide the quick fix, the happy here-and-now. But God looks at the long term, what’s best for eternity. An easy life produces flabby souls. Temporary trouble can be a stepping stone to godly character.
I learn to pray God’s plan over the names on my prayer list.
O God, teach him to store up his treasure in heaven.
Surround her hospital bed with Your presence, Jesus.
Win or lose, Lord, may they play for Your glory.
And that hopeless mess?
Almighty God, plant them deep in Your love. Fill them to overflowing with the fullness of You!
Whatever the problem, they’ll be better off filled with the fullness of God. We find this truth when Jesus is teaching His disciples how to pray. He instructs them, “But you, when you pray, enter your closet, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in secret” (Matthew 6:6a).
I don’t step out of my prayer closet with a flashy cape and bulging muscles. But I’m transformed. I have God’s eyes and heart. And my prayers fly off in power to change the world.
I’ll take my closet over a phone booth, all the time.
O God, teach me to pray Your way, not mine. Change me, change my prayer focus, and change others through my prayers. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.