you are praying, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they
think that they will be heard because of their many words.
In the gospel of Mathew, particularly in the Sermon on the Mount, Kingdom
righteousness demands a reform of inner attitudes. ‘Hypocrisy’ is a root
perversion of discipleship. When we use spirituality for human reputation, then
we betray our deepest loyalty to God. Dividing our loyalties between God and
humans also erodes our ability to carry out disciple’s duties. Disciples are to
love Jesus and to expect persecution. One way to make sure that we are not
using our religious exercise to show off is to practice them in ‘secret’. Here
this passage under reference is Jesus’ moral critique on false piety and
hypocrisy. It talks about how we should observe ‘true piety’ in relationship to
is an active way of participating in the working out of God’s plan for the
world. It involves words, silence, reciting, responding, or listening.
In our spiritual growth prayer is a necessity and it enables us to know
the divine will for us. But many a time people see prayer as a means for
personal gain and publicity. Prayer should enable us for self-examination,
repentance and surrender. The Lord’s Prayer as taught by Jesus (v. 9-15),
clearly explains one’s existential personal relationship to God. It doesn’t
have any extrinsic or instrumental desire to gain social recognition or to
achieve ends other than relationship with God.
In true spirituality,
engaging in Prayer is not for social effect. Prayer should not be tied up
with our deep desire to be recognized in the community. Prayer should never be
a channel for us to be seen by the people around us. By teaching the Lord’s
Prayer, Jesus is transcending our needs into an intrinsic form of spirituality,
into a true, unadulterated desire for God. It is expressed in phrases
like, “your name”, “your kingdom” and “your will”. Usually we try to elevate us
and our desires through prayer and attempt to get God’s approval for our agenda.
Food for nourishment, forgiveness from our sins and protection from temptation
are also included in the Lord’s Prayer. It ends with acknowledging God’s
kingdom, power and glory. Therefore prayer in true spirituality challenges us
to seek the face of the living God ‘in secret’ and try to discover what it
means to live in authentic, unpretentious relationship with others and with
Gracious God, help us to be genuine
in our spiritual walk and to seek You and Your will through our prayer life.