And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 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 6:5-6
In this passage, Jesus emphasizes that our prayers must be sincere. Christ teaches us the right way to pray so that our prayers won’t be hypocritical. Instead of standing on street corners reciting long prayers, it would be more appropriate if we would pray at home in private. Most of all, Christ wants to make it clear that we need to get rid of improper motives. We shouldn’t pray in order to be recognized or to gain something from others.
This doesn’t mean that we should never pray in public. Christians aren’t restricted to certain places where they may or may not pray. Locations, like street corners, marketplaces, outdoor areas, and churches, are certainly not off-limits for prayer. We can pray anywhere. But we shouldn’t show off when we pray or use prayer to gain admiration or profit. Christ doesn’t denounce blowing trumpets or ringing bells to attract attention for good causes. But he does rule out impure motives in prayer when he says emphatically, “to be seen by men.”
Going into a private room and locking the door aren’t required when we pray. However, we might want to be alone to pour out our wants and needs to God with words and gestures that we wouldn’t feel comfortable having others see. Although we can pray in our hearts without saying anything aloud, words and gestures help kindle the spirit. S our entire lives should be devoted to God – spreading his Word and praising his kingdom. Whatever we do must be grounded in sincere prayer.
A 2005 Gold Medallion finalist!
Martin Luther served as a catalyst of the Protestant Reformation in sixteenth-centuryEurope. This book teaches children about his fascinating life, influence, and teaching while encouraging them to see how God uses them in His kingdom today.
Children learn the historic background to a significant time in the church. They discover that, like Martin Luther, they can learn about the reality of Christ’s life and death on their behalf, His grace and mercy, and His desire for them as baptized, redeemed children of God.