Matthew 6:6

But you, when you pray, enter into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret shall reward you openly.
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Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
Serm. in Mont., ii, 3: He does not now bid us pray, but instructs us how we should pray; as above He did not command us to do alms, but showed the manner of doing them. Not that the mere being seen of men is an impiety, but the doing this, in order to be seen of men. The privity of other men is to be so far shunned by us, as it leads us to doany thing with this mind that we look for the fruit of their applause. Or, by our chambers are to be understood our hearts, of which it is spoken in the fourth Psalm; “What things ye utter in your hearts, and wherewith ye are pricked in your chambers.” “The door” is the bodily senses; without are al worldly things, which, enter into our thoughts through the senses, and that crowd of vain imaginings which beset us in prayer. The door then must be shut, that is, we must resist the bodily sense, that we may address our Father in such spiritual prayer as is made in the inmost spirit, where we pray to Him truly in secret. ...

Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
What are those bed-chambers but just our hearts themselves, as is meant also in the Psalm, when it is said, What ye say in your hearts, have remorse for even in your beds? And when you have shut the doors, says He, pray to your Father who is in secret. It is a small matter to enter into our bed-chambers if the door stand open to the unmannerly, through which the things that are outside profanely rush in and assail our inner man. Now we have said that outside are all temporal and visible things, which make their way through the door, i.e. through the fleshly sense into our thoughts, and clamorously interrupt those who are praying by a crowd of vain phantoms. Hence the door is to be shut, i.e. the fleshly sense is to be resisted, so that spiritual prayer may be directed to the Father, which is done in the inmost heart, where prayer is offered to the Father which is in secret. And your Father, says He, who sees in secret, shall reward you. And this had to be wound up with a closing statem...

Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
Enter into your inner chamber. Do not let the door stand open to the boisterous, through whom the things that are outside profanely rush in and assail the inner self. .
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Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
Outside the inner chamber are all things in time and space, which knock on the door. Through our bodily senses they clamor to interrupt our prayer, so that prayer is invaded with a crowd of vain phantoms. This is why you must shut the door. The senses of the body are resisted, that the spirit of prayer may be directed to the Father. This occurs in the inmost heart, where prayer is offered to the Father in secret. There “your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” This is a fitting conclusion to good counsel, not merely calling us to pray but also showing us how, not merely calling us to give alms but also showing the right spirit for doing so. The instruction is to cleanse the heart. Nothing cleanses the heart but the undivided and singleminded striving after eternal life from the pure love of wisdom alone. . ...

Chromatius of Aquileia

AD 407
We find in the books of Kings that very holy woman Hannah fulfilling the precepts of this Gospel teaching. For while praying without uttering a sound, in her heart and in the sight of God, she poured out her desire in her prayers. She was immediately found worthy to be heard by the Lord. In the same way the Lord granted to Daniel, who always prayed in secret with three servants, to understand the interpretations of his dream and the secrets of revelation. Cornelius too, not yet instructed in the precepts of the gospel, prayed secretly and faithfully in his room and was found worthy to hear the voice of the angel speaking. What should we say of Jonah, who, not only in his room but trapped in the stomach of the whale, deserved so greatly to be heard through his prayers that from the depths of the sea and from the belly of so great a beast he escaped unharmed and alive? Tractate on Matthew. ...

Cyprian of Carthage

AD 258
Tr. vii. 2: The Lord has bid us in His instructions to pray secretly in remote and withdrawn places, as best suited to faith; that we may be assured that God who is present every where hears and sees all, and in the fulness of His Majesty penetrates even hidden places. Tr. vii, 20: What insensibility is it to be snatched wandering off by light and profane imaginings, when you are presenting your entreaty to the Lord, as if there were aught else you ought rather to consider than that your converse is with God! How can you claim of God to attend to you, when you do not attend to yourself? This is altogether to make no provision against the enemy; this is when praying to God, to offend God's Majesty by the neglectfulness of your prayer. ...

George Leo Haydock

AD 1849
Because he who should pray in his chamber, and at the same time desire it to be known by men, that he might thence receive vain glory, might truly be said to pray in the street, and sound a trumpet before him: whilst he, who though he pray in public, seeks not thence any vain glory, acts the same as if he prayed in his chamber. (Menochius) Jesus Christ went up to the temple, to attend public worship on the festival days. ...
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Glossa Ordinaria

AD 1480
Ord.: Or, “the corners of the streets,” are the places where one way crosses another, and makes four cross-ways.
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Hilary of Poitiers

AD 368
We are asked to pray with the bedroom door closed, as it were, and we are taught to pour out our prayer in every place. The saints’ prayers were undertaken in the presence of wild animals, in prisons, in flames, from the depths of the sea and the belly of the beast. Hence we are admonished not to enter the recesses of our homes but the bedroom of our hearts. With the office of our minds closed, we pray to God not with many words but with our conscience, for every act is superior to the words of speakers. ...
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AD 420
This if taken in its plain sense teaches the hearer to shun all desire of vain honour in praying.
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John Chrysostom

AD 407
Solomon says, “Before prayer, prepare thy soul.” This he does who comes to prayer doing alms; for good works stir up the faith of the heart, and give the soul confidence in prayer to God. Alms then are a preparation for prayer, and therefore the Lord after speaking of alms proceeds accordingly to instruct us concerning prayer. He calls them hypocrites, because feigning that they are praying to God, they are looking round to men; and He adds, “they love to pray in the synagogues.”. But I suppose that it is not the place that the Lord here refers to, but the motive of him that prays; for it is praiseworthy to pray in the congregation of the faithful, as it is said, “in your Churches bless ye God.” Whoever then so prays as to be seen of men does not look to God but to man, and so far as his purpose is concerned he prays in the synagogue. But he, whose mind in prayer is wholly fixed on God, though he pray in the synagogue, yet seems to pray with himself in secret. “Inthe corners of the str...
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John Chrysostom

AD 407
Having then discredited them, who order not this duty as they ought, both from the place and from their disposition of mind, and having shown that they are very ridiculous: He introduces the best manner of prayer, and again gives the reward, saying, Enter into your closet. What then, it may be said, ought we not to pray in church? Indeed we ought by all means, but in such a spirit as this. Because everywhere God seeks the intention of all that is done. Since even if you should enter into your closet, and having shut the door, should do it for display, the doors will do you no good. It is worth observing in this case also, how exact the definition, which He made when He said, That they may appear unto men. So that even if you shut the doors, this He desires you duly to perform, rather than the shutting of the doors, even to shut the doors of the mind. For as in everything it is good to be freed from vainglory, so most especially in prayer. For if even without this, we wander and a...
4 mins12/13

Theophylact of Ochrid

AD 1107
. Should I not then pray in church? Indeed I should, but with a right mind and not for show. For it is not the place which harms prayer, but the manner and the intent with which we pray. For many who pray in secret do so to impress men.
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Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. - 2 Peter 1:20

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