Practical Proverbial, from Matthew, 3 May 2023. Today’s topic: Pray in Private

“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.   Matthew 6:5-6

Prayer is a gift.   It’s a gift from God that He created a real, personal way for each of us to directly talk with Him, to bridge the gaps between the temporal and eternal.   And it’s a gift to Him, when we open our hearts to Him in prayer, inviting Him in to lead us, clean us, inspire us, heal and comfort us.

So, what about ‘prayers by the flagpole?’   You know, the move to have high schoolers meet at the school flagpole to pray.   Are those things hypocritical?   Aren’t they vain?  Or prayers in a stadium?  What about when someone leads a long, flowery prayer that just…won’t…end?

It’s the heart of the matter that matters.  Does the prayer come from the praying person’s heart?   Jesus knows us, and He knows that, when things matter to us, we treat them as important.  We think of them as personal, private matters.   That’s what Jesus wants prayer to be for us:   a personal, private, important matter.   Why?   Because prayer is a gift.  It’s why He tells us to usually pray privately.

In Luke 18, Jesus said, “For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”   That’s another way of saying what He said here in Matthew 6.   Jesus tells us to humble ourselves in prayer, praying in secluded places where we can focus on God.   He wants us to have those regular conversations with God in ways that crowd out the rest of the world so that we can fully open up to Him.  In this way, we can be honest and candid with Him.

And we can do it in ways that don’t mock Him.   If you think about it, those flowery prayers don’t seem very real.  They might just be for show and not the glory of God.  It shouldn’t be a surprise that some would mock God’s gift because, as sinners, we all do that in various ways.   Yet this is pretty tender.  We shouldn’t judge others harshly, but we also must not let ourselves be played for fools.  If something seems phony, it might be.   Best to steer clear of it.   Maybe even pray for the person doing it, as a gift to them and to God, but in private.

For more reading: 2 Kings 4:33, Mark 11:25, Luke 18:10-14, Matthew 6:7

Lord, I don’t ever want to abuse this gift of prayer You gave us.   Give me opportunities to pray in private for others, with You, and to not do it for my selfish gain.

Published by aspiringwriterdt

It's about's about the life He gives's about going day by's about you. It's not about me.

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