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"Secret Prayers, Public Shadows": When Misfits Become Kings: Book Study Part 6 (weekly podcast episode #33)

Follow along with blog post/transcript below.

"Prayer is the door that allows God to get involved more precisely in the affairs of our lives." That quote comes from Mark Casto, author of the book, When Misfits Become Kings. It's part 6 of our on-going book study, chapter 5 titled, Secret Prayers, Public Shadows. 

Do you have a prayer life where you speak to God and He speaks to you? If so, awesome, God's shadow and power follows you. If not, well I'm here to tell you that you can have a secret (or intimate) prayer life. Secret prayers involve speaking to God and reading His Word. I'm finally getting to the point where I'm starting to know what the secret place really means in my life. I have been saved for about 20 years now and God continues to reveal Himself to me, so for me that secret place is real. And I meet God there in a way that works for me. Your secret place and its process may differ from mine, so you have to do what works for you. God is a big God, so it's all good.  

Casto says, on page 59, "the secret place is where instructions are given, wisdom is supplied, deliverance is released, healing is received, and grace is released for misfits to become the person God has created us to be. To do it in secret is to learn to walk closely with God privately so that you can unlock your full destiny publicly. It's clear here that we all need a physical place where we can meet with God and get what He has for us, right? I know where that place is for me. Where is it for you? When we want real intimacy with God our secret place can't be where anyone else is, because that would mean distractions. It has to be just us and God. That's it. So each of us needs that place we can go to when nobody else is present. How often that is depends on your relationship with God. It varies from person to person. Just know that being intimate with God often occurs during difficult "war-like" times (as was with Moses in Exodus 33:18), however, we should continue that intimacy during times of "peace." 

Speaking of secret places and a time of war, I remember a difficult time in my life when I was going through something surreal. It was though I was living a dream or more like a nightmare, yet God was with me the entire time. My prayer life was on another level during that time and my relationship with God went there too -- an entirely new level. The holy spirit was strong and if I didn't have secret/intimate prayers, my life would be much different. I thank God for the secret place and today I still meet God there. And this is the thing: when we meet God there, He meets us there, and we see His work publicly through our lives. Yes, His shadow follows us continuously. And because God is God and He will speak anywhere at anytime, we have to be disciplined enough to take advantage of that. Therefore, quiet intimate time is crucial to know how we proceed. We can't hear Him with noise and noise can be absolutely anything (social media, phones, TV, internet, family, friends). Distractions come in all shapes and sizes. Bottom line: if we want to hear from God; if we want to be used in a mighty way, then we have to make time for God. 

On page 59, Casto says, "I wonder how many settled for a mediocre misfit life, barely accomplishing the purpose for their existence, because they did not learn to find the secret place." That was me at a point in my life because I didn't take things to God as much as I should have, so of course I would often miss Him. That was a time when I didn't believe in myself as much as I do today. Case-in-point: I remember being at a conference a few years ago and I had gotten the last ticket to meet the conference headliner. I was beyond excited. I had paid $400 for that ticket and I couldn't believe I was one of 30 women who were blessed enough to get a coaching session with her. I had my business plan I wanted to run by her and I was ready. When it was time for the session, instead of asking where we were meeting, I ended up having lunch alone outside the venue, I did that instead of attending the session. I often think back to that time and I often ask myself why I didn't just walk around and ask one of the many helpers in the red shirts. I think deep down I may have been afraid of success and just didn't believe I could be a part of such a group. Ironically and this may sound crazy, that was a time when I actually thought highly of myself. Yet in retrospect I wasn't as confident as I thought I was. I was of little faith; I doubted my abilities; and that was just a few short years ago. If my secret prayers were more solid I would have walked boldly around that place until somebody told me where to go. That was another lesson for me. It was a lesson that I needed to be more resolute and steadfast in my prayer and in my faith. The secret places help us get there. Casto says on page 59, "the men and women who have shaken the world are those who found a place of solitude with God." When we know God intimately, doubt doesn't exist. Confidence does -- godly confidence.

Secret prayers, public shadows -- it's about us speaking (praying); reading God's Word and hearing what He has to say through them. John 15:7 says, "If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you."  Casto says on page 66, "my prayer is that you will respond to the invitation to the secret place and learn to abide in Jesus and His Word, because you will be fruitful. A fruitful generation abiding in the Word will not fall away when put in public view because they are connected so deeply to the Vine." And on page 70 he says, "go into the secret place and spend time with God, because those who pray in secret will begin to see they are fit to carry public shadows" [shadows meaning God is with them]. And I say amen to that. 
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