SOAP Devotional 2016-08-31
Scripture – Observation – Application – Prayer
“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
Again, Jesus is not condemning people for doing things in public. He is speaking about the attitude behind the prayer. Those who pray for show are in the same boat as those who give for show. Or for that matter, do any religious service for show. The reward of recognition by others in the only reward they will ever receive. He goes on to tell us how we should pray. Prayers are personal communication with our Father in heaven. They are best expressed when alone with Him away from the distractions of the world around us. He will here and He will reward that prayer time.
It has always been true that not all conversations need to be public. There are conversations that spouses and close family have that are never discussed publicly. The same should be even more true in our conversations with our heavenly Father. I can ask for others to pray for needs, but I must take those requests directly to him, in person, and alone, so that I might be able to listen without distraction to His answers.
Father, you know that I have never been comfortable with showy prayers. If and when I have to pray in front of others, let it be sincere and not concerned with what others might think of my prayer to you. But, also let me always bring my personal prayers to you and help me to listen without being distracted by the cares of this worlds to the answers you speak to me.