Authentic Prayer – Privilege, Not Performance

Published on Oct 27, 2023
Category: Devotion

Matthew 6:5-7
“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.

Interestingly, the Lord Jesus starts His teaching on prayer, by clarifying what prayer is not rather than what it is. In the previous chapter, He says unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:20). The Pharisees were known for their religious showmanship, prioritizing rituals and rules over a genuine love for God. And now in these verses, He is giving us further insight into this important topic.

God is not impressed!

“Prayer should not be regarded as a duty which must be performed, but rather as a privilege to be enjoyed, a rare delight that is always revealing some new beauty.” – E.M. Bounds

Jesus reminds us that God values the condition of your heart, not the outward show in prayer. Prayer is not to be an opportunity to show off. It’s not about captivating the world’s gaze, but the heart of God. The true essence of prayer lies not in eloquence but in the profound bond and unwavering faith we share with our Creator. It’s not a test of knowledge but a testament to our reliance on God.

Prayer is your simple, real, and honest conversation with God, to which sometimes others may be witnesses.

As you go before the throne of God, do your prayers impress God or those listening? Our God answers faith-filled prayers.

Lord may my prayer always be you-centered. Forgive me for times it has been otherwise.


Preethi Alice Jacob

Preethi Jacob is the author of the yearlong devotional At the Potter’s Wheel, Day by Day. Her journey includes teaching a Bible Study Fellowship class, teaching and leading the Sunday School ministry in her church, leading Bible studies, besides counselling young women. She serves on the Global Mission Team of the United Bible Societies and lives in Bangalore, India with her husband and two young adult children.

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