Have you ever been scared to death that you would be called upon to pray in front of people? Did you remember the prayer requests? In case you didn’t know, I am an extreme introvert. I used to be terrified that I would be called on and I have a few times. Yet I survived and prayed a simple and somewhat canned prayer.
I remember growing up in the Nazarene church and sometimes there would be someone who would just stand up and start praying. He would start hooping and hollorin’ (that’s Southern for Hollering or yelling) and sometimes waving a hankie around. It was a sight to see and it lasted for quite a while.
Jesus might have witnessed people in His day putting on a display like this. He probably saw them stand up in the synagogues or maybe the street corners. Actually, He said that he did. He tells us NOT to be like them and gives us 3 things to do when we pray:
- Instead of praying out in the open and drawing attention to yourself we should “go into our private room”. Doing this we are by ourselves and our focus can ONLY be toward the one we are praying to.
- We are also to “shut the door”. When we “shut the door” it allows us to open up in honesty toward God. We are more likely to confess before a Holy God our sins and repent from them.
- We are to “Pray to our Father who is in heaven.” We are to remember who exactly we are talking to. The “Creator of the Universe”, the one who SPOKE everything in existence. Humbling to think about isn’t it? That is the point.
Jesus was not at all forbidding public prayer and saying that we should ONLY pray in our closet. But He was saying that people who ONLY pray in public and never in private are praying for the wrong reasons.
Since when we pray and we do not truely know what or how we should pray Jesus gives us a model for prayer. We know it as the “Lord’s Prayer”. Some recite this as an actual prayer but in the context in which it is used it is a teaching tool.
Tomorrow we will break the steps down and examine each part. Today be thinking about your prayer life. Do you pray? If so, how often? Do you use scripture to help you?