Praying in Secret Facts for 3-8 Year Olds

Categories: Power of Prayer, Sermon on the Mount

  • Chapter 6 deals with real and fake righteousness (doing the right and moral thing, acting in a way that follows God’s law).
  • Jesus first talks about prayer.
  • Prayer involves relations to God.
  • Jesus says, “But 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 men.”
  • In Greek, the word hypocrite is the ordinary word for an actor in the theater. The actor plays his part and people clap for his performance.
  • When Jesus lived, people couldn’t pray loudly in public, out where other people were.
  • So they prayed silently in public, three times a day.
  • Now if a Jew wanted to show how pious (devoted to worshipping God, religious) he was, he could just plan to be in a place where lots of people were when it was time to pray—like the marketplace.
  • According to Jesus, “they have received their reward in full.” All they get is others noticing them praying.
  • True prayer isn’t used to get attention or to impress others; it’s to be with God.
  • Jesus says, “When you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen.”
  • People are told to go into their room, into their closet.
  • Many people think this refers to our thoughts.
  • We allow God to help make our thoughts be more spirit-based.
  • But closet also had another meaning. In Greek, it means the supply room.
  • The closet is the only room that has a lock on it.
  • The supply room is probably the least sacred room in the house. (Sacred means something is set apart as holy, for the worship of a deity.)
  • Jesus is picking the most unholy, common room of the house, and he’s saying, “Go in there and pray.” Be that secret.
  • Prayer is not just for the big temple ceremony; true prayer is quiet conversation with God, and God alone.
  • This can happen anywhere, and all the time.
  • Again, “Then your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.”
  • Jesus continues, “When you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.”
  • The pagans (who do not believe in God) believe the gods want you to work hard for their attention.
  • The pagans say the way to prove how sincere (honest, genuine) you are to the gods is by chattering (talking, babbling) all the time. That’s a lot of busy work.
  • But in other places in the Bible, we are told to pray “without ceasing” (all the time). We also know that Jesus sometimes spent the whole night in prayer.
  • So, what does Jesus mean for us to do?
  • He is saying, first of all, that we don’t have to pray long prayers.
  • If we feel that we have to pray a certain length of time or put the right words in the right order, praying becomes just motions without meaning.
  • On the other hand, if we’ve really got something to say, we can take as long as we want to say it.
  • God listens—no matter how short or long. We just need to be honest. Our prayers need to be from the heart.
  • Jesus also says, “Your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.”
  • The purpose of prayer is not to give God information or explain what’s going on. God already knows.
  • Prayer is more of a conversation. And we must be willing to listen.
  • When we listen, we hear what needs to change in our thinking.
  • And it’s easiest to talk with those people who know us best. God knows us best.
  • So … we go into our closet, an every-day supply room, where we can be quiet and have a prayer conversation with God where we listen to the One who knows us best.