“And when you pray, do 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. 6 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. 7 And 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.  Matthew 6:5-8 NKJV

Check out the Message Translation

Pray with Simplicity

5 “And when you come before God, don’t turn that into a theatrical production either. All these people making a regular show out of their prayers, hoping for stardom! Do you think God sits in a box seat?

6 “Here’s what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace.

7-8 “The world is full of so-called prayer warriors who are prayer-ignorant. They’re full of formulas and programs and advice, peddling techniques for getting what you want from God. Don’t fall for that nonsense. This is your Father you are dealing with, and he knows better than you what you need. With a God like this loving you, you can pray very simply. Like this: (the Lord’s prayer) ( MESSAGE TRANSLATION)

The Word of God for the people of God. Thanks be to God!

In this passage from the sermon on the mount, Jesus is talking specifically about what prayer is and how we are to do it.

Now, of course,  Jesus did pray out loud and in public. Listen to what the Gill Commentary says: (http://biblehub.com/matthew/6-6.htm )

Our Lord does not mean to exclude and condemn public prayer, … but … to instruct persons that they should not only pray in public, but also and especially in private … where they are less liable to pride, hypocrisy, and vanity.

The best public prayer is an overflow from your private prayer life, which is the same principle for leading worship. First the private practice, then the public witness. That’s why you have to first go into your prayer closet and have a real conversation with God.

Ok, here are three examples of how not pray in public.

The first is to pray like a “Bore”. Maybe the words are good, but the prayer is lifeless, dry, and not relevant. This style of prayer has no real passion, personality or compassion.  Just reading words from a generic script out loud. So it may have truth, but not much spirit and not much heart.

The second example NOT to emulate is to pray like a “Drama Queen”. This applies equally to men or women. What I’m talking about is soulish emoting. I’m all for passionate travailing prayer, but our shouts and tears need to anchored in “spirit and truth” and focused on contending for the purposes of God.  The Drama Queen prayer may have a lot of passion and heart, but not much head.

The third is to pray like a “Zombie” -with no heart and no head.  I think of this when Jesus said “do not keep on babbling empty phrases like the pagans”. This is mechanical repetition that is way off the mark of “spirit and truth”.

The solution, Jesus says, is to “pray like this” and teaches them the Lord’s prayer.

But here is a word of caution from the Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

“… the very prayer which our Lord gave as an antidote to vain repetitions is the most abused to this superstitious end; the number of times it is repeated counting for so much more merit. Is not this just that characteristic feature of heathen devotion which our Lord here condemns?” Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary http://biblehub.com/matthew/6-7.htm

The Lords prayer is not a magic formula, rather take the meaning of the words to heart, and in your prayer closet, pray your own words according to it’s principles and ideas.

Let’s pray.

Our Father who lives in heaven. [ You are a good Father]

Holy is your name. {We honor You. You are our Maker our creator, You are the Sovereign Ruler of the Universe)

May your kingdom come and your will be done in every aspect of our lives – may our reality be on earth as it is in heaven.

You know everything we need. Give us this day our necessary provision.

Forgive us our sins for they are many. And empower us to forgive every offense, small and large.

Lead us not into temptation. But deliver us from evil

For Yours is the Kingdom, the power and the glory forever amen.




Daily Worship Devotionals is a 5-minute podcast dedicated to studying the Word of God and hearing the voice of the Holy Spirit. Currently, we are following the Christian year calendar as our framework. We’re in the season of Lent – a time of self-examination and repentance as we journey with Christ to the cross.