READ: Matthew 6:5-15
- Some people seem to like the sound of their own voice. And it’s not just that they talk a lot. It’s that they want to impress when they talk. For a few, that comes in their public prayers. The words are carefully chosen of how they might appeal to the listeners, not to the Listener. It’s all done to establish a “spiritual” reputation. And that ends up being the “reward.” They are thought of as “spiritual” people…a bit above the rest.
- Jesus wants prayer. In fact, He goes on to give a sample of what might be included in prayer. But He doesn’t want prayers that are more for the crowd than for the Creator. Prayer should not call attention to the one praying but to the One being prayed to. So, it behooves all pray-ers, to choose carefully where you pray and how you pray. Is the motive to be seen by other diners, other parents, other parishioners as “prayerful,” or to communicate with the Father?
- Prayer is a very private conversation between you and your heavenly Father. There are times when it is done in public. That’s the forum in which it occurs, but it still done “not to be seen by men.” The best place is your quiet place—whether that’s a space in your closet, the seat on your tractor, the space behind your lawnmower or any other place where you and God can carry on a conversation.
- Describe a time you heard someone pray to be heard. How did you respond?
- How can you cultivate a more fulfilling, private prayer experience?
- Why do you think we are sometimes tempted to want such “prayer attention”?
PRAY: Thank God for wanting us to pray. Commit yourself to praying that is God-honoring and not men-pleasing. Seek God as a regular conversation companion.