Verse of the Day Devotion: Matthew 6:5
“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.” – Matthew 6:5
It is very important that when we pray, we do it because we wish to truly communicate with God, not to impress those around us. Notice the word used to describe the people who pray to be seen, hypocrites. The idea is that we would be acting like we are praying, putting on a show, so that others around us will be impressed. This is what many of the Jewish leadership would do, going out where the people were so that they would be seen by many in the streets. They are speaking to no-one except to the ears of the watchers. And the only reward they will receive will be from those who are listening, not God.
“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.” Matthew 6:6 Back in the time of Christ, practically every home had a place for secret devotion. It could be on the roof, a small room on one of the roof corners, or a place somewhere inside. The idea was to spend quiet time with God, in a secret place where no one could see and interrupt the one praying. Thus, because they are not pretending to pray, the Father who sees and hears them will reward them.
Prayer is a very intimate time we can spend with God. We can go to a quiet place, bow ourselves before Him and spend time with Him. Paul wrote to the Philippians, “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. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6. It is a time where we can go to Him, baring our heart and soul, and receiving the comfort and peace we often need from Him.
Lastly, Paul wrote to the Thessalonians the following, “pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18. Prayer is a two-way conversation. It is not just us talking, but us listening as well. We must be open to hear when He speaks to us. God loves us, He wants to spend quality time with us. When we speak to a friend or family member, one person speaks, then the other. However, it is also one person listening, then the other. Prayer is the same way.
So, make time every day to spend quiet time alone, in a secret place, with God. Tell Him everything you need, He wants to listen to you, but also, listen to Him because He wants to speak to you as well. Don’t just go through the motions, make it an intimate and loving time with Him. You will find it to be one of the most important and enjoyable times of your day.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.