Some Christians say we are to pray in secret. That God values the intimacy and a very personal, private prayer life with us, which is true. They/we believe that prayer should be motivated by nothing other than the sincere longing for His presence and fellowshipping with Him, and I couldn’t agree more.
What concerns me is, from time to time I have seen people who hold so tightly to specific scriptures, which have led them to go as far as to feel it is a misuse of prayer to proclaim blessings, to make “spectacles”, to lay hands and pray aloud for others.
Matthew 6 5-15 says,
“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. 6 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. 7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him..”
This scripture displays the importance of the motivation of our prayer lives. It supports the importance for a private, personal prayer life. Telling us clear as day to be humble in our prayers and to not make it about us by having motives other than the desire for sincere fellowship with Him. Based on this scripture they are absolutely right.
(This next part I wanted to emphasize that I am not trying to preach. I speak boldly because I genuinely love Jesus, His church, and you. Our church is everything to me and I want to strengthen it, so with that said )
As followers of Christ we have to know what we believe! We must be careful not to base our understanding about prayer, grace…. anything for that matter, from one passage, or from one sermon, it is dangerous! Be the good Berean. (Acts 17:11)
When we are at a church service, if we are going up and pray out loud so everyone can see how “holy” or “Christian” we are…. we would be as bad as the Pharisees…… If we do do this; pray in loud voices, with all the “proper” words for all to hear, in the hopes of impressing others…..we would be choosing our own ego over His desires. Using God in an attempt to make ourselves look good, better… or more “christian”. We would be choosing ourselves over God.
Now, if we see a person hurting, alone or we just feel the Holy Spirit telling us to go pray boldly for someone for no particular reason, it’s about God, it’s about love…..not us. We don’t just write it down and pray for them later in private, we love in action! (1 John 3:18)
When the Spirit moves in our hearts and an outpouring of prayer and/or praise takes place, we must respond…. but it always comes down to motivation.
Just you, and Him…. wherever that may be.
This scripture’s lessons about humility and the importance of motivation is crucial to a successful prayer life…. but there is more. The more you dig into the scriptures, you learn that there is more to prayer than intimacy…. there is power!
There is another group of Christians; people motivated and driven by the Holy Spirit, driven to step out in faith and approach people, to pray openly for healing, grace and salvation, led by the Spirit’s love, guidance and power. There are many scriptures that support this truth about actively praying for the world in this way as well. A few include; Matt 5 14-16, Acts 13:3, 5:14-15, (more on request)
Both of these are scripturally accurate….. but just like everything in our walk with Christ, it’s a matter of motivation. We cannot walk in blindness, pride or fear, but with and always by the guidance of Holy Spirit. And when we do that. … Ohh man!!
Holy Spirit I ask that You spark a revival amongst Your children and teach us. Teach us to pray as You desire, to love like You and to lift each other up in prayer and petition from the right heart. Help us to hear Your voice and to be equally bold as well as humble. In Jesus name I pray this, amen
Written by: Justin Ludwig