Wednesday, March 1st
5 “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 6 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
7 “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words.
– Matthew 6:5-7
How Do We Pray?
Today is the 7th day of lent, a season of self-examination and self-denial, where we empty ourselves of lesser things and fill ourselves with greater things of the Gospel. (join the journey: https://northstarchurch.org/prayer-tools)
Matthew 6:5-7 instructs us how to pray. Jesus teaches us 2 ways NOT to pray and 1 way to pray. All 3 center around the posture of our hearts.
In the first century, the Pharisees loved to perform their prayers publically, typically in synagogues or on street corners so that others might see them. (v.5) The original word in greek (phaino) that is translated as “seen by others” could also be translated as “to make an appearance or to appear before others.”In the same way, that a celebrity would make an appearance on a Talk Show or at a Sporting event, the Pharisee’s public prayer is not about lifting God up, but about lifting themselves up.
Jesus elaborates on this “self-glorifying” prayer in verse 7, where he instructs us not to use many words and heap up empty phrases. This practice of using long elaborate phrases that ultimately mean nothing is another indication that we are not praying to God but to other people.
Prayer is not about show, it is about intimacy.
In Verse 6, Jesus teaches us how to pray. He instructs us to go into our room and shut the door, and pray to the Father. The word “room” (tameion) refers to the inner room of the house, typically without any windows or opening to the outside, it is the most private location possible. Jesus wants to eliminate any distractions and temptations from our prayer life. He wants to ensure that prayer is not about sounding eloquent or impressing our neighbor; prayer is about connecting with our Father.
I pray this reality serves as a deep breath for you. Prayer isn’t meant to be a performance. It is a conversation with your Heavenly Father. Let’s go to him in prayer, now.
Jeremiah 29:12–13 (NLT) — 12 In those days when you pray, I will listen. 13 If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.
Day 7 – MAR. 1: Make it your habit today to talk to God at different points throughout your day. Include the Lord in your daily activities, thoughts, and conversations. As you do this, remember that the Lord is listening!