If God is transcendent and immanent, why are we enjoined to go into our private room and, with the door shut, pray to our Father who is in a secret place?
…pour out your prayer where God alone sees, he who repays all…if you know what ‘your private room’ is and clean it, then pray to God there….If men are to reward you, pour out your prayer before men. If God is to reward you, pour out your prayer before him; and close the door, lest the tempter enter.
from St. Augustine Answers 101 Questions on Prayer by Fr. Ermatinger.
The dichotomy of prayer is such that, as an act of an individual, it is an intentionally private and personal act, while as an act of individuals, it is an intensely public act of choirs united in praise. When we pray as individuals, speaking to the locus, we seek to commune with God person to person and this is to be done interiorly for God is closer to us than our own inner-selves and, for the individual, His Temple, His Throne, His Bridegroom Chamber is the innermost mansion of the soul. Speaking to the merit, the labor of an individual’s prayer, for which the laborer has promise of obtainment, comes from God, not from other men. If men rewards, the individual’s prayer should be before other men so that they might see the work done and give the recompense. As it is God who rewards, then the individual should pray in his interior room where God alone sees, and thus alone has the glory for the recompense given. Speaking to the condition of the inner room, what is it then to clean? This is both the preparation for prayer and the activity of prayer – this simply means to rightly order the soul; to remove vices and plant virtues in their place that the individual’s soul might engage in the work of prayer more completely, be adorned with the gifts that her God should desire to give her, and might more fully commune with her Lord. Speaking to shutting the door, this is not just to keep the tempter out who desires to spoil the work of prayer that uplifts the soul to God but is out of modesty. The individual’s work of prayer culminates in the Mystical Marriage. That unique personal communion between the individual soul and God is not for others to see. If the door should be left open for others to see the intimacies given, it should be cause for vanity and pride and, perhaps, envy in that the reward given by God for the labor of prayer is more than what was promised but not equally given. — PPP