Something Jesus said helped me be more productive today.

The Bible verse reads: “But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” Matthew 6:6

Now I’ve spoken on this verse before while covering the topic of prayer. After all that’s what Jesus is speaking about. He’s giving his Disciples a practical lesson about the importance of having intimate fellowship and an ongoing conversation with God versus putting on a performance to create an image for people.

So, it’s very possible I might be saying a few things about the importance of prayer.


Not that I don’t think it’s important. It’s really the nub of what this passage is all about and deserves a lot of commentary. But that’s for another time and place.

I want to focus on the importance of “shutting the door” as a strategy for focusing on those things that are important.

Far too many leaders and professionals are distracted from giving high-focus time to the task or project at hand that is truly the highest priority. The result: low quality creativity and results, rushed efforts, the temptation to take shortcuts, a sense of lacklustre performance and generally being bummed out when they know they are capable of so much more.

Oh, we all know the culprits.

  • Chimes and dings and snippets of tune that tell us something is happening just one click away
  • Colleagues with few boundaries and low standards who interrupt on a whim
  • A crushing sense of overwhelm that makes too much turn out too little while we fritter away time
  • Forms, reports, tedious meetings and to-do lists that are longer than our leg
  • The creation of productive habits stomped on by the great suck down of daily stuff

You get the picture. We could create such a list together, the two of us …

Hence the benefit of closing the door. What’s it mean?

  • Close the door. Period.
  • Refuse to be distracted.
  • Apply your focus on what’s most important until it’s done.
  • Train the troops to stop bugging you at the most inconvenient times.
  • Get clarity about what the true priorities are.
  • Take ownership of doing whatever it will take to change your distracted ways.
  • Shut off the chimes and dings and anything resembling them.
  • Clear the schedule – and protect it fiercely – so you have a straight 90 minutes of concentration.
  • And much more …

Close the door. If you and I are going to achieve those things that we feel are truly important we need the time to work on them. No one else is going to do it for us. You and I are here for a reason. Your job and mine have purpose. We have been given important “assignments” to do and achieve. Let’s not settle for half-baked results when we could be reaching far higher.

And by the way … your efforts could be well rewarded, in life, work and leadership … and in prayer.