Matthew 6:5-6 – “And when you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they will be seen by people. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. 6 But as for you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door, and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.”
Prayer is the essence and test of the godly life. The habit of prayer implies a certain attitude, mainly that God is the creator and sustainer of all things. Jesus wants us to guard against praying to impress other people. The practical way to pray from the heart, where the intended audience is God alone, is to get to a private place. The frequency with which we seek God in the private place is the frequency with which we see evidence of God in the public places of our lives. Jesus reminds us that we need to see God as a Father who wants to reward His children with good things. Of course, Jesus doesn’t mean that the Father will always give us whatever we want, but He certainly will give us whatever we need.
Jesus would go on to say, ‘when you are praying, do not use thoughtless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard because of their many words…do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him (Matt. 6:7-8).’ In other words, we can be direct and to the point with our Father in heaven. After all, He already knows every detail of our lives. That being the case, Jesus teaches us to be thoughtful about how we pray. We should be considerate about how our requests reflect on God’s name and God’s character. We should desire above all else that His will be done. We should be grateful for His provisions and ask for His help to forgive as we have been forgiven. We should be intentional to pray against our adversary and that Christ would continually deliver us from evil.
Heavenly Father, our Lord Jesus Christ, you are so good to us we do not want to injure your name in the way we represent it. Holy Spirit lead us into being devoted to prayer continually and with great expectation of the reward of your presence, power, and love. Amen.