Last night something hit me hard. Like a wall of Truth you cannot get over or around. You must simply stand there and absorb the immense height and impassable depth. It began in this manner:
"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." Matthew 6:5
When one begins to consider the definition of prayer, it will ultimately lead you to something pertaining to a conversation between God and oneself. Here, in this passage, we find that there was something terribly amiss in the hearts of these men who prayed aloud on street corners. They flaunted their piety in a manner that would demand respect from man, and their reward was the reverence of failing creatures who knew only as much about their God as the men who pretended to know Him. It looked to me like prostitution. They longed to be praised and accepted as something beautiful in the eyes of men, so they took their supposed "relationship" with God out into the open, exposed and loud, and put it on display. A proverbial strip-club. Spiritual pornography. No true lover wants to watch his or her significant other dance with someone else. No true lover wants to have a three-some in order to make them feel "more loved". But in essence, that is what the hypocrite in this passage does; he has no concern for the pain he causes or the people he uses.
"But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you." Matthew 6:6
As many times as we say it, we can never hear enough that our relationship with God is just that: A RELATIONSHIP. One of the most intimate nature. Singular, quiet, private. You and Him alone together, for the time that is meant for only the two of you. Go into your room, where you are alone, and pour out your heart, honestly and truthfully. Lovers are relationally exposed to one another, their hearts bare and beating outside of themselves, for only the other to see. The most Mighty of Lovers desires this of you. With you. Because of His passion is for you and His eyes are for you. Which comes to vs 7:
"And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words." Matthew 6:7
It was the desire of those who did not know God to feel, to be heard, to gain attention. The spiritual whoring of oneself to the world. "Love me, love me!" they wailed. There is a security among real love that is unprecedented by all else. These people were crying again and again to something that didn't exist to hear them, in the dark concerning real love. Demanding the eyes of the world with flash and show, they long for something. These things will not distract the eyes of lovers from one another. They need few words for they have known one another by the tones and sincerity of their voices, the honest appeals of their conversation needs no repetition. They vie for nothing, because they give one another all of themselves.
"Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him." Matthew 6:8
This is the kind of relationship God desires from us, the kind that is of such close proximity that the inches of space between His heart and ours become imperceptible. He is externally and internally aware of you, and when you are loyal in your relationship, you become of this nature as well, and the way that the Lover communicates to you becomes the most brilliant of moments in your life.This relationship is very much a marriage; open-handed and exclusive, private and exposing, quiet and emotive. The prayer life of a Christian is in reality, a romance.
...Laura Reitzel, College Student