Early in his ministry Jesus warned his followers against hypocritical praying in public:
‘But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who … sees in secret… [He] will reward you’ (Matthew 6:6).
And straight after he rose from the dead:
‘On the evening of that… first day of the week, the doors being locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came … and said, “Peace be with you”’ (John 20:19).
In the ministry of Elisha (whose name ‘my God saves’ resembles that of Jesus, ‘YHWH saves’) we are given several examples of the blessings associated with closed doors.
- Shut the door to pray – and to access heaven’s midwifery service
On arriving at the home of the Shunamite mother whose ‘miracle’ son had died of sunstroke, ‘he went in and shut the door behind the two of them and prayed to the Lord’ (2 Kings 4:33), and alternately measured himself on the child and walked back and forth till the child sneezed in life again, as though reborn.
- Shut the door to pour – and to access heaven’s bank vaults
When the widow of one of his students cried to him that creditors were after her since her husband’s death, Elisha bade her to borrow plenty of containers from neighbours, ‘then go in and shut the door behind yourself and your son and pour into all these vessels’ the smidgen of oil that remained in her depleted pantry; then to sell the miracle supply to pay off the present debt and provide for her household’s future needs (see 2 Kings 4:1-7).
- Shut the door to prophesy – and to access heaven’s medical clinic
(a) When Naaman, the general of the Syrian army, stopped his entourage ‘at the door of Elisha’s house’ (2 Kings 5:9) ‘he sent a messenger to him, saying, “Go and wash in the Jordan seven times and you shall be clean”’ of the otherwise incurable leprosy that plagued him – to the army man’s utter disgust. Why couldn’t the great man of God do the decent thing and come out and wave his hand over the disfigured area and cure him? However, the prophecy came true when humbly obeyed. It was a prophecy of blessing.
– and to access heaven’s warning system
(b) On another occasion Elisha spoke aloud a prophetic word of judgment from behind closed doors to a belligerent envoy from the king of Samaria whose city had been besieged for a very long time – foretelling a sudden relief of the siege and the trampling to death of this haughty messenger. Again his predictive prophecy proved to be true that very next day; the Syrian army, scared at the sound of the marching angelic army of the Lord, fled in sheer panic leaving plenty of food behind (see 2 Kings 6:24, 7:20).
With his master keys that had released him from ‘death and Hades’ (Revelation 1:18), Jesus opened Peter’s prison doors as the church prayed behind a locked gate (Acts12:10-14). Those ‘keys of death and Hades’ will fit the door lock of any prison cell!
* Praying with your spirit (1 Corinthians 14:14-15) can shut doors on analytical worry.