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SECRET PRAYER

 

References are to the New International Version UK

 

Question: Explain Matthew 6: 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.

 Answer: Jesus cautioned His disciples to avoid showy demonstrations of piety, being careful ʻnot to do your acts of righteousness before menʼ (v. 1). Nor should one be smug about doing good deeds ʻdo not let your left hand know what your right hand is doingʼ (v. 3). His advice was intended to counteract the pompous attitude of the religious hypocrites, who loved to be observed in their ritual worship and to be admired (v. 5).

 Jesus is not here condemning congregational prayer; rather He addresses the matter of our intimate, personal communion with God as our Father our candid prayers in which we reveal our inner thoughts and petition Him for grace, mercy and forgiveness. There can be no pretence in such closet communion, for our Heavenly Father sees us as we are without adornment or disguise.

 As God is invisible to the natural eye, it is appropriate that we commune with Him unobserved. Our reward is the joy of fellowship with the Father and the affirmation that we are accepted as beloved, through Christ our Saviour.

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