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Saturday, October 19, 2002

Edfier du Jour-Mattew 6:1-8(NASB)
1 "Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven. 2 "So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. 3 "But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. 5 "When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. 6 "But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. 7 "And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. 8 "So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.
This doesn't mean that we have to be undercover Christians, afraid of doing things where people can see them. However, our motivation needs to be helping God rather than being seen being helping God. I remember cringing when I went to a special service at a church that leaned towards the name-it-and-claim-it paradigm; they had the collection buckets up at the altar and had people come forward to make their donations. That ain't what Jesus is advising here. The other thing the Jesus advises against is long-winded prayers. God knows what you're asking for, so much prayer oratory is meant for the humans listening to the prayer. Some of the prayer might wind up explaining to them what you're praying for, but other times your prayer is meant to show your devoutness to the prayer circle more that it is to communicate with God. Pray from the heart and from the spirit and keep the speechmaking to a minimum.

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