Think with me for a moment about what a great privilege it is to talk to the Father and to be heard gladly by the Almighty God! Whatever else science, technology, or the learning of man may enable us to do, we would never rise higher than when, as redeemed men and women, we talk to our Father in prayer!
And yet, even in prayer, we can still find a way to bring sin into the picture. In Matthew 6:5-6, Jesus warns us that we can pray wrongfully when we make a show of praying in order to have others see us and think of how "holy" and "spiritual" we are. When we do that, we pray to no avail.
Let's notice what Jesus' words in Matthew 6:5-6 suggest to us.
It is assumed that we will pray to our Father.
Do you find that prayer to the Father is a significant part of your life? How much time do you spend in prayer about the daily concerns of your life? It's certainly not a measurement we should use so that we can compare ourselves with one another; but the answer to that question is something that reveals the attitude of heart towards God.
Do you find that prayer to the Father
is a significant part of your life?
We are not to pray with the motive of being seen by others.
A "hypocrite" tries to present himself before others as something that he's not. He's a play-actor whose mask is that of a spiritual person who prays sincerely. Obviously, by necessity, he would need to do so where other people would see him and be able to admire him.
Isn't the heart of man deceitful? Here is the call to the highest, and most honorable, and holiest of all human actions—and it's done, not with the motive of glorifying and honoring God, but in order to be seen and approved of by men!
We are to pray to the Father in secret.
Jesus expresses the seclusion we should seek in getting away to pray. He is addressing that temptation we often feel to be seen by others when we pray, and to be well-thought of by them when we are seen.
How then should we pray?
First, remember who it is that we pray to. Second, keep in mind that every prayer we ever pray is made possible only by the death of the Son of God! Third, remember who it is that helps us in our prayers—the third Person of the Trinity. Finally, remember what it is that will hinder our prayers and render them ineffective.
Only one thing does: sin.
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