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Who Are You Talking To?

Whatever we are doing when we are praying, singing “to the Lord”, preaching, teaching, or “living life” before others, we have to be conscious that our human nature can come between earnest worship and service.  Because we are aware of other’s presence as we “do” whatever we do in a group, we have to choose to focus on Jesus when we lead in worship or live as examples. Otherwise, we are performers seeking the applause and approval of men.  When that is the case, then the applause and praise from those around us is our reward.  We get what we seek.  If we seek the LORD, we find Him.  If we seek men’s praise and work hard enough, we can get it.

Jesus warned against such behavior…..

“And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. 7And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.  8“Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him. 

Two young boys were spending the night at their grandparents. At bedtime, the two boys knelt beside their beds to say their prayers when the youngest one began praying at the top of his lungs. “I PRAY FOR A NEW BICYCLE… I PRAY FOR A NEW PLAYSTATION… I PRAY FOR A NEW VCR…” His older brother leaned over and nudged the younger brother and said, “Why are you shouting your prayers? God isn’t deaf.” To which the little brother replied, “No, but Grandma is!”

There is the temptation to pray to people rather than to God. We’ve all heard public prayers, I’m sure, that were worded in such a way so as to “preach” to the congregation rather than to approach the throne of God. That’s why Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount:

“And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.” (Matthew 6:5-6)

Jesus was not forbidding (as some have suggested) public prayer. Jesus offered many public prayers himself. However, he was warning us about the tendency to pray our prayers for the express purpose of being heard by other people.  (Copied).