5"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 men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.
Every time I read this passage visions of men on sidewalks speaking loudly of the coming of the Lord come to mind. On occasion I have even thought that some of them might be mentally ill. Of course I know we are not supposed to sit in judgment, but I admit I do my share of it then check myself and ask God to help me not be so judgmental. After all, there have been times I have been so empowered by the love of God that I shouted to the world too. Well, maybe not on the street corner, but with anything wonderful that happens to you, it's natural to want to share it with others so in the excitement of the moment you might seem mentally ill to someone who just didn't understand the need to share.
Still, this passage isn't talking about sharing God's love, it's talking about God wanting a personal relationship with us. This passage lets us know that those that people who make a show of being super-religious so that they can be admired by men already have their reward. What God really wants is a personal relationship with each of us. He wants to talk to us each day and have a rich communication link so He can hear our deepest prayers and give us comfort for our concerns. If the only time we pray is when we are in trouble, our relationship will be off balance. It's like going to the bank and taking out money but never putting anything back in. Sooner or later the bank is going to dry up. I'm not saying God will ever leave us, but I am saying our relationship will suffer if we don't give ourselves back.
It's a good thing to have scheduled times for prayer, but we should be prepared to meet God in private anywhere, anytime, all day long. This is truly what He wants. After all, this is why He made man in the first place.
Friends Carolyn and Jan. Jan died last year of a brain hemorrhage and I still miss her sweet spirit so much.