ArticleBible & Theology

Prayer Focus: Praying Without Performing

Motives matter when we pray for missions.
“But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” (Matthew 6:6 ESV)

Prayer is a performance, but it is not a performance.

Confusing statement? Maybe.

Performance is doing an action. Performance is displaying exaggerated behavior. When it comes to prayer, Jesus desires the former not the latter. He wants us to perform the action of prayer. But He does not want our prayer to be a performance for man (6:5).

By contrast, Jesus provided a practical plan. Go into a room, shut the door, and pray in secret where no one else can see except God. The idea is to pray in a private place with no distractions. This serves to purify the motives for prayer and eliminate pride, hypocrisy, and vanity.

Jesus promised two outcomes for those who pray like this. God will see the secret prayer and He will reward the effort.

As we pray for those who’ve never heard, let’s enter our secret places and pray earnestly that the Lord of the harvest will send forth laborers into his harvest (Matthew 9:38). We have the promise that he will reward those prayers.

This week, let’s pray:

“Heavenly Father, purify my motives for prayer. Let me not pray for the praise of men. Teach me to pray in secret, to you and for you alone.”

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About the Author

Bobby Hile is ABWE’s Director of Long-Term Mobilization. Prior to that, he served for 9 years as a senior pastor in Ohio and for almost 20 years with ABWE as a missionary in South Africa.

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