Matthew 6:1-8 – “Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven. 2 “So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. 3 “But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. 5 “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. 6 “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. 7 “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. 8 “So do not be like them; for your, Father knows what you need before you ask Him.” NASU
Jesus follows up this discourse with His recommended pattern of prayer known as “The Lord’s Prayer.” But, back to my thought for today, “The Power of Prayer” or “The Power of Proper Prayer.” I know some may wonder at that last phrase but consider with me the directive of our LORD regarding this and all matters of life. MOTIVATION and MOTIVE are key elements in everything we do. The Why is often as impactful as the What in life. I not only believe in the power of prayer, but I have also experienced it firsthand in my life.
We have all know people who have or been guilty ourselves of the living out the warning in verse one and put on our religious masks. Too many people, Christians are not excluded, have a morbid fear of being discovered for who they really are. There is a conditioning in our society to “hide your flaws” because if people knew the real you, they would not like or accept you. That happens in dating and some young men and women discover, after the wedding, WHO they married and are troubled by that discovery. It happens in the world of business to the hurt of many. It happens in Church too and that is tragic. If we would remember and keep in the forefront of our minds, “GOD KNOWS” we would be less inclined to pretend and more inclined to reach out to each other for help in overcoming the demons we face in life.
As a minister and pastor (in the past), I have had people tell me, “I’m giving this anonymously” but then would be offended when I did not ‘toot their horn’ for the gift. If we are living our lives ‘for God’, giving our Gifts ‘to God’, and praying ‘to God’ our lives, our gifts, and our prayers take on a completely different shape, most of the time. It is not wrong to recognize what others do and not wrong to receive recognition and some accolades but if that is the objective it loses its power and potential.
Jesus instructed us to establish a “prayer closet” and develop the habit of prayer. I love corporate prayer because, I know the power of agreement and I am frequently encouraged, inspired, and energized by the prayers of others, especially when I sense the genuineness of the heart. Jesus said, “But you…” That’s you and me! “…when you pray…” That should be regularly. “…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.” He went on in the next verse and gave warning for the meaninglessness of long flowerily repetitious prayers that are more for those listening than for God’s ears. I’ve instructed believers, especially new converts, to “keep it simple” in prayer. Tell God what you want and need. You don’t have to convince Him or enlighten Him as to your situation – HE KNOWS! Jesus taught, and I believe that God is far more willing to forgive and answer our prayers than we realize. Jesus declared in Luke 12:32 that It was His and Our Father’s good pleasure to provide our needs and beyond. Jesus came to give us ABUNDANT LIFE!
Prayer, genuine, heartfelt and Bible-based prayer is POWERFUL. With that in mind consider His pattern of prayer:
“Pray, then, in this way: Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. 10′ Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. 11′ Give us this day our daily bread. 12’And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 ‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. [For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’] For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 “But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.”
May the LORD bless your richly and inspire you to spend time with Him in your closet of prayer. Have a fantastic day!