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.
As a pastor I am often asked to pray. I must admit that my heart is not always in the right spot. Sometimes my emotions are such that I don’t want to pray out loud. Sometimes I have prayed only because I feel that I am expected to. I get paid to pray, right? Sometimes, I admit, I have been more conscious about impressing people than communicating with God.
In Jesus’ day there were those who used prayer as a platform. These people loved to pray in places where they could be heard and seen. Others “babbled” on and on. Jesus called these people “hypocrites,” a word that means, “play actor.” Words coming from their mouths originated in empty hearts.
Prayer is a genuine expression of the heart. Prayer is simply talking to God. Prayer is never meant to bring attention to us. Sometimes we need to be on our own for a private conversation. Sometimes we are called on to lead others in prayer. However, whenever and wherever we pray, it’s not about us; it’s about God. You may be able to fool people; you can never fool God.
Father, please help me fully understand that prayer is simply talking to You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
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