There are many ways in which this passage has been translated over the centuries. Jesus criticizes those who pray aloud on the street corners and says that instead we should go into a place and pray in secret. This “place” has been likened to a house, room, or even a closet; which led to the creation of literal prayer closets, small rooms where a priest or monk could shut the door and pray. But the place Jesus is referring to isn’t necessarily a room; rather it could be described as a secluded place.
It is recorded numerous times that Jesus left the disciples in order to go off and pray alone. This was a time where he could speak to God about whatever was on his mind. We have no idea, except for one instance, what Jesus prayed in these secluded places. I find that strangely comforting.
“What happens in prayer, stays in prayer,” to coin a famous phrase. No one will ever know what I pray except God and myself. I can say whatever I want, listing my concerns, frustrations, joys, failures, or anything else. And it doesn’t matter where it is, I could be in a room by myself, or driving, or in a room of a thousand other people, as long as I talk to the One. In these situations, Jesus assures me that God will hear me.
Almighty God, … … … … Amen.