Today, we will look at the second of three areas that we do not want to be a hypocrite in and show off if we do not want to lose our heavenly reward.
DON’T SHOW OFF IN YOUR ASKING
Mat 6:5-15 And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. (6) But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. (7) But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. (8) Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him. (9) After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. (10) Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. (11) Give us this day our daily bread. (12) And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. (13) And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. (14) For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: (15) But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
In this section, Jesus is telling us not to try to impress people by the content of our prayers. But, we are to go into our prayer closet in secret. Does this mean you have to literally get into your hallway or bedroom closet to pray? No. It means to find a quiet place alone with no distractions so you can be completely focused.
One of the things we notice is that God not only hears our prayers, but He judges the motives of our heart. How does God view your prayer motives? Reminds me of the Laodicean church from Revelation. They were neither hot nor cold, but lukewarm. It disgusted God so much that He wanted to spew them out of His mouth. The Laodiceans believed that if they kept repeating the same words in prayer, and kept repeating certain phrases, their words would reach Heaven and impress God.
The Jews of Jesus’ day were known for their repetitious prayers. They prayed 3 times a day – at 9 o’clock, 12 o’clock, and at 3 o’clock. Each time they recited 18 different prayers. A devout Jew prays much more than that – they pray when they drink water, when they eat, when they walk through a door, etc. Spending lots of time in prayer is a good thing as long as it does not become repetitious.
To many of the Jews of Jesus’ day, they spent so much time in meaningless, ritualistic prayer that it meant very little to them. It became a public spectacle as they stood on the street corners to be seen by everyone, and offered long, flowery prayers in the synagogue that were long on words and short on heart.
God is not interested in the length of your prayers, or how many syllables it contains – He wants to know that your heart is in it. And that is often the most difficult part of prayer.
In this post I am just covering certain things that we can do that would cause us to lose our heavenly reward – and praying for false motives is one of those. This is not necessarily a “How to pray” message, though we see an example, or model for prayer, here in 6:9-13 --
- Who – Our Father
- Heavenly Father
- Hallowed Father – holy
- Heaven’s Formula –Praying God’s will be done.
- What – Our Needs
- Provisions – our daily bread
- Pardon – forgiveness
- Our Wrongs
- Those who wrong us
- When – For Ever
Ultimately, remember that you are praying to God, and not to man. When you try to impress man with your prayers, God is not impressed and your reward is lost.