God calls us to be people who pray, serve with our gifts, and live wisely.

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But when you pray, go to your room, shut the door, and pray to your Father who is present in that secret place. Your Father who sees what you do in secret will reward you.

Matthew 6:6

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In Jesus’ day, there were people who loved to make a public show of their religious life, especially their prayers. Jesus says they were missing the point — prayer is not a performance, it’s a conversation with our Heavenly Parent. If we’re tempted to make a public show of our relationship with God, then it’s best we move much of that practice out of the eyes of others.

For many of us, the temptation isn’t so much to make a public show of our prayers as it is to put on some show in our own private prayers. We may want to impress God with flowery language, cover up the dark corners of our lives, or feel that our prayers don’t measure up to someone else’s more eloquent prayers.

If we feel we need to resort to showy or inauthentic prayers, we’d best remember that God wants us to express ourselves honestly and simply. Prayer isn’t about impressing God or others — it’s about being fully present with the God whose love we don’t have to earn by any performance.

Chris Cash

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Loving God, may my prayers be open and honest expressions of who I am. Help me avoid the temptation to make my prayers a show to impress you or others, because you love me simply as I am. Amen.

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May you go to live a life of wisdom, prayer, and service to others.

Chris Cash

Chris Cash serves as pastor of Oxford Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Georgetown, KY. He is a graduate of the Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond and lives in Georgetown with his wife, Erin, and daughter, Ella. He enjoys reading, running, superheroes, and baseball — especially the (finally!) World Series Champion Chicago Cubs.

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