Praying in Private
(Jesus speaking), "When you pray, don't be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I tell you the truth, that is all the reward they will ever get. But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.” –Matthew 6:5-6 (NLT)
There are many kinds of prayer (Ephesians 6:18) and “a time for every purpose under heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1), including times for public prayer. Jesus is not opposed to public prayer but warns us to avoid prideful “showing-off” behavior in public. In Scripture, we see that Jesus practiced what He preached. We observe Jesus seeking time alone in His Father’s presence, casting all His cares on Him, listening to His Father’s voice, and thanking the Father for hearing His prayers (John 11:41). Let’s follow the examples of the prophet Elisha (2 Kings 4:33), the prophet Daniel (Daniel 6:10), and Jesus (Mark 1:35) who made it a priority to pray in private to find refreshment, renewal, and pleasure in God’s presence. Let’s pray together…
Father God, You are incomprehensible and at the same time You are infinite love and goodness. Because You are Spirit, we worship You in spirit and truth (John 4:24). Through Your infinite love and goodness, You provide a way for us to have an authentic and personal relationship with You! We love that about You and are in awe of You. Thank You for being trustworthy so we can humbly surrender to You in restful hope, adoration, and devotion. We honor and praise Your Name because You alone are worthy of our worship. Thank You for Your grace as You call us into Your presence to pray. Forgive us for letting other things distract us from making time for You in prayer. We humbly ask for unity and peace to flourish in Your people, in our churches, in our neighborhoods, cities and country. In Jesus’ Holy Name we pray, to the glory of God, amen.