By: Autumn Sisk
“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. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.” Matthew 6:6-8 (NIV)
Some people always want to be the center of attention. They do whatever is necessary to draw attention to themselves. Some will constantly pick fights with schoolmates; others pretend to get hurt while playing a sport. They just have to be the center of attention.
In the days when Jesus was here on earth, there was a group of “holy” men, the Pharisees and Sadducees, who always had to be in the spotlight. In these verses above, Jesus talks to His disciples about these attention-seekers. These “holy” men, made huge scenes in public when they prayed each day.
Jesus explained to His followers that neither God nor He approved of this type of behavior. He told them God wants His children to pray to Him sincerely, not as a way of gaining attention or showing off.
Therefore, Jesus says it is best if we go somewhere quiet where we can be alone with God. That is when we can spend quality time with Him. No one else needs to know what we say to God. Fancy prayers shouted to God in public don’t mean as much to Him as our silent prayers that come from our own quiet place.
I’m not saying we should not pray with others; what I am saying is we need to examine our motives for doing so. Real faith is shown by the way we live and honor God in our day-to-day lives, not in the eloquence of our prayers spoken in large groups.
While it honors God when we meet together with other Christians to pray with sincere hearts, God also loves it when we tell Him our secrets and spend time in His presence alone. Just like I love spending time talking with my best friend (just the two of us), God loves to spend time with you when it is just the two of you.
Many people go to church and love to talk about their faith in God, but truly, your relationship with God depends on YOU and GOD. He is pleased with people who do not put on a front about their faith, but who live out their faith in quiet humility. They do not need to make a huge display in public, but prefer to keep their time with God sacred and intimate.
Even Jesus regularly went to a quiet place to pray, away from His disciples. That way, He could focus on His time with God.
Would you prefer to have the praise of men or of God? Take the time each day to spend a few quiet moments alone with God. It will be time well spent.
Dear Lord, I am coming to You right now, in the quiet of my room. I want to know You in a more intimate way, and I want to spend time with You without others around to distract me. Help me to always be sincere in my faith, never trying to draw attention to myself. All of the attention should go to You. Thank You that I have the privilege of sharing my heart with You and knowing You intimately. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Ponder: Mark 1:35, “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went to a solitary place, where He prayed.” (NIV)
Apply: Make a point of going into your room alone to pray. Be sure to turn off the television, computer, etc…and get away from other people.
Write in your journal each day about how you feel after being alone with God.
Read: Making it Real: Whose Faith is It Anyway? by T. Suzanne Eller
Share: When and where do you usually pray?
© 2008, 2010 by Autumn Sisk. All rights reserved.
Autumn Sisk lives in Atlanta, Georgia and has been a competitive tennis player since high school. She enjoys leading a Bible study for teenage girls and wants to one day visit Jerusalem. She is addicted to watching and cheering for the Atlanta Braves and also loves watching the Disney channel on T.V. Her favorite Bible verse is Colossians 3:17 because knowing how much Jesus loves her inspires her to live her life for Him.