April 13 - Matthew 6:5-8

Saturday, April 13, 2013

April 13 - Matthew 6:5-8

"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. 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. 

“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. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”

There have always been people in my life … in my churches … in my Bible studies, who make me cringe when they volunteer to pray.  They tell God everything that is on their mind and subject an entire room of people to seven or eight minutes of blather that sends my mind into paroxysms of hilarity. I lose all sense of prayerfulness and then I feel terribly guilty.

Very few cogent sentences or honest words leave their lips, they are simply babbling  barely intelligible Christianese to impress themselves, others in the room and possibly even God.

Then, there are those who need to unload all of their concerns, down to their granddaughter’s best friends, father’s mother-in-law who wants to sell her broken down washing machine.  Once they get going on their list, my mind wanders off.

Don’t forget those who when they are given the opportunity to pray begin telling everyone in the room all of the secrets and awful things about people, in essence, gossiping in the form of prayer.

Jesus tells us that we should come to God honestly and if we have a problem with needing attention or gossip, we need to be sure that we come before God in secret. He’s not terribly impressed with our grasp of the Christian language or our understanding of the needs of everyone surrounding us or our judgment on those who have apparently sinned more than we have during the past week.

God’s desire is to create an intimate relationship of trust with each of us.  He knows what we need; he just wants us to be comfortable enough with him to ask. He wants us to know him so well that our needs become what it is he wants for us.

When you pray, go away by yourself and speak with the Lord who created heaven and earth, who sent his son to save your soul and who loves you.  Build the relationship. Trust that he knows you better than you know yourself.