Praying with Sincerity

Sermon on the Mount: Instructions for Life

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 may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But 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.

And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him” (Matthew 6:5-8).

Again, notice the actions of the hypocrites. They were praying in a public place at a highly visible location (Matthew 6:5). They used “many words” so that they would be heard by men (Matthew 6:8).

As we noticed with those who would turn helping the poor into a show, it is possible to benefit others when these prayers were offered. If one is leading others in prayer, though his heart may be corrupt, his prayer may benefit those who are sincere that are being led in that prayer. But when praying in public, is our intent to offer prayers and supplications to God or is it to impress others with our eloquence?

Jesus said we are to pray in secret (Matthew 6:6). This does not mean we cannot offer public prayers or pray in a public place. The point is that private prayers should be private. If we do offer a prayer (not leading others in prayer in an assembly that has gathered for that purpose) in a public place (such as praying before a meal in a restaurant), we should do so discreetly and not make a show of it. Others may notice what we are doing, but we are not to pray in such a way as to draw more attention to ourselves. We should be praying to God, not to be noticed by others.

Also, Jesus said that we are to pray with simplicity, rather than using “meaningless repetition” and “many words” (Matthew 6:7). We do not need to try and impress anyone with our eloquence or verbosity. Remember what Jesus said: “Your Father knows what you need before you ask Him” (Matthew 6:8). Therefore, our prayers do not need to contain many unnecessary words; they just need to be offered in simplicity and sincerity.

The above post is an excerpt from the book, Sermon on the Mount: Instructions for Life. Follow the link to learn more about the book and purchase your copy today!

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