How often do you pray? Where do you pray? Do you pray publicly? Is your praying always done in private? Does it make a difference how or when you pray? Have you wrestled with these questions? Do you know Jesus tells how we should pray?
I know many people who feel awkward praying, especially if they must do so in public. It doesn’t matter if it is praying over a meal, in a small group meeting, or before the entire congregation. They have a fear of not praying correctly and being made fun of.
First, there is no right way to pray. God simply wants us to come to him in prayer. It is communicating with God. It can include thanksgiving, requests, praise, seeking, and honoring. The words we use are less important than the condition of our heart. Our prayer is to be honest and heartfelt. We do not need to be eloquent.
In fact, Jesus tells us not to pray in public for the purpose of being seen and heard by others. This does not mean we should not pray corporately during our worship. It does mean not to do so in a public setting merely to draw attention to ourselves. Of course, this doesn’t mean we should not bow our heads in a short prayer to thank God when we eat in a restaurant.
When we need to pour our hearts out to God, Jesus says to do so in private. When we are wrestling with an issue or seeking his guidance, pray in a private place. When we are overwhelmed with thankfulness and praise for a blessing, pray in secret. When we are earnestly seeking forgiveness for a wrong we committed, we are to go into our room and pray.
Jesus tells us to communicate in secret with God. He says that by praying in secret rather than standing on the street corner, we will receive a reward from God. That reward is a blessing for our willingness to pour our heart out to God and trust him to care for us.
I pray we all spend time in prayer each day. I pray we communicate with God in private. I pray each one of us will take time to thank, praise, and seek God in private each day of our lives. Spend time in prayer. Give thanks to God. Praise God. Seek God. Ask for forgiveness. Do so in secret.
Matthew 6:6 “But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”