Noticed by People, or God?

Inspiration MinistriesBy Inspiration Ministries2 Minutes

We’ve all heard them. Prayers that sound spiritual, spoken with poetic eloquence. In subtle ways, these can become models we emulate. They also can be intimidating, and foster competition. In these moments we need to remember that prayer is not a contest. And the goal is not to impress others but to commune with God.

Jesus described how some pray to “be seen by men.” For such people, being noticed is their reward. They may sound sincere and seem spiritually mature. But God is not impressed.

Jesus directed us to pray in our “inner room.” The Greek word here describes a place of storage or a private chamber, far from the public eye. Jesus was teaching that prayer is to be private, a dialogue between each person and God Himself, done in “secret.” We are not to be concerned how others react; our focus is on our Father.

Jesus also reminded us that we cannot impress God with our vocabulary or the length of our prayers. In fact, many prayers are packed with “meaningless repetition.” The Greek word describes someone who stammers, repeating the same things over and over.

But Jesus said that we must not assume that we will be heard for our “many words.” Prayer is about our relationship with God. We cannot tell Him anything really new for He “knows what you need before you ask Him.” And, as Jesus taught in the Lord’s Prayer (vs. 9-12), we should use words like those we speak in a conversation with a friend.

When you pray, don’t worry about impressing others. Focus on God. Talk with Him. Be honest with Him. Share your needs and burdens. Ask questions but always listen. And don’t forget to thank Him, and give Him praise.