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. 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. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
There has been a lot of talk the past few weeks about how and when to “re-open” churches, along with re-opening restaurants, hair salons and other businesses. While these are important conversations as we slowly emerge from our odd season of quarantine, I can assure you that the church has not been closed. Yes, our building has been much quieter than normal, and no, we haven’t been worshiping all together on Sunday mornings. But ministry has continued, as has worship and fellowship. And prayer? My guess is, prayer has increased.
Jesus wants us to know that prayer doesn’t have to happen in a synagogue or on a street corner or inside our church sanctuary. In fact, Jesus asks us to pray at home, in a quiet corner where only God can hear our prayers. Of course, we can also pray in public and in church, but when we do, we need to be careful not to turn a public prayer into performance with a spotlight shining on the person at the microphone. That’s not the right spirit for prayer. Jesus said prayer should be quiet, simple and honest.
You can pray right now, right where you are, just as powerfully and effectively as I can pray during worship on a Sunday morning in front of our whole church family. God hears a short, heart-felt prayer whispered in the stillness of your bedroom, just as clearly as He hears a prayer amplified through a grand cathedral. Jesus promises that’s true. So, during this time of great need, in our own families and throughout the world, lift up your prayers with faith.
Thank You, Jesus, for teaching me to pray. Thank You for hearing me and promising that my prayers are powerful in Your name. Remind me to pray often for the people You love. Heal Your world. Bring us peace and hope. Restore what has been broken and lost. Teach me and everyone to trust in You. I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Pastor Mike Mirakian