Where Do You Pray?
Humility Before God
Scripture Lesson - Matthew 6 : 1-6
And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But whenever 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.
Are you comfortable praying in public?
I have never felt comfortable praying in public. Therefore, I am seldom the person who is asked to pray at public functions. For me, prayer is personal. It is our personal time alone with God. We are blessed to serve a God that is willing to listen to our prayers-- whatever our petitions may be. When I listen to my own prayers, I hear something that would probably resemble the conversation between a wise elder and a younger student.
I spend most of my prayer time alone with God. Does this make me any less of a Christian?
It is interesting to see Christians fighting over the right to pray in public. It is as if God only hears prayers that are said in front of a mass amount of people. These men and women seem to recite the most eloquent prayers. Quite often a person's ability to lead is often judged by their ability to pray in public. The truth is that some of our greatest leaders spend time alone in prayer. We may not hear them pray publicly; and, when they do pray in public, it is often a very simple prayer. Are they any less of a Christian leader?
When people are asked to pray publicly, the reply is "I'm not any good at prayer. The truth is that we are all good at prayer and that God hears all prayers. He never turns a deaf ear to the pleas of His children; but He appreciates a prayer that comes from the heart. This is the point that Christ is trying to make in today's Scripture. God wants a real, true relationship with His children. He does not want any time spent in prayer to be superfluousness and routine. Instead, prayer should be full of humility. It should be respectful to God and all of His children. It should also be free of hateful and malicious speech.
Christian prayer should never be used to promote our own agendas. Christianity is about humility, service, and love. True Christianity means willing to be last and putting others first. This lesson is often forgotten in the "me first" era. One of the reasons why I feel self-conscious praying in public is because I am afraid someone will criticize the way that I pray. I may afraid that someone will label me weak and ineffective because I "did not say the right thing." While it is true that some people may be critical of my prayers, I can be assured that my prayers will never sound weak and ineffective to God.
Our prayers belong be to God and to God alone as we humble ourselves to someone who has shown us great mercy. The truth is that we are all "good at prayer." We should never be ashamed to come before the Lord in prayer. We may only say a few, softly spoken words, but you can be assured that He hears every word we say.