Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly. And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him. After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. (Matthew 6:1-13)
Today’s Morsel: I’m sure if you have been around the church for long, you’ve heard a lot about prayer and the importance of prayer. Why did Jesus place so much emphasis on prayer? Part of Jesus’ teaching to His disciples was be careful how you pray. What did Jesus see in the temple that He was displeased with? What did He see when He saw the two men praying, that He felt that He needed to use as a teaching point for His disciples? Apparently, one of them was focused on himself in his praying, while the other was more focused on his repentance. There are many books and lessons that can be purchased to teach about prayer and how to pray, but Jesus gives us the best example when He said, "Enter into your secret closest, and close the door and there pray." Your secret closest is within yourself. In other words, you do not have to yell and scream at the top of your voice when you pray to make someone think that you are spiritual. In many ways, praying is a quiet time alone with just you and the Lord; you talking with Him and Him talking with you. If you are talking one on one with the Lord, I don’t think you focus on yourself and your achievements, I think you need to listen to what He desires to impart unto you. I don’t believe that you have to yell and scream at Him to get your point across. I believe that this is what Jesus wanted us to see in these two men's prayer lives.
The apostle asked Jesus, "Lord teach us to pray even as John taught His disciples to pray." Were they looking for a way of how to pray? Were they wanting to know what to say when they prayed? Did they see Jesus praying and they wanted to emulate His actions in their praying? Did they notice that Jesus accomplished great things after He prayed? Prayer, more than anything else, is communication with God and intercession for others. Jesus already knows the things that we have need of, therefore, we shouldn’t have to elevate ourselves during our pray time, nor ask Him for things for ourselves. I think that we should thank Him in advance for providing the things we have need of and for hearing our prayer for others. The key to feeling good about your prayer time is when you depart and you know that you have been in the presence of the Lord.
Sing: Someone is praying for you. Someone is praying for you, when you feel you're alone, and your heart would break in two; remember, someone is praying for you.