“Search me, O God, and know my heart!” Psalm 139:23 A few years ago, I had the opportunity to lead...
“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them…” Matthew 6:1
Do you pray in public? Before a meal? With a couple friends at your favorite coffee shop? With your faith family in the church lobby?
For many believers, praying in a public space is a common occurrence. You don’t give the idea much thought—you just do it. God brings a specific person, request, or situation to mind and you simply call out to your Heavenly Father in prayer. It’s a practice that flows from your heart of compassion.
Yet, Jesus challenges believers to beware of practicing our faith in public. Should we be confused? Not really. As He often does, Jesus seeks to get to the heart of the issue.
Praying in public isn’t wrong—unless the reason you’re pausing to pray in a high visibility location is to draw attention to yourself. To make yourself appear impressively spiritual to those around you. This is self-serving, rather than God-honoring. It can be seen as prideful, rather than humble. Only you know the posture of your heart when you enter the Father’s presence in prayer. Are you responding to genuine concern for a friend or family member? Or praying in public simply as a religious display to show your piety to a watching world?
Heavenly Father, may I always have a heart to please You, not to impress others. Give me a humble heart to do your will whatever my surroundings. Strengthen me so that I might walk in your ways in any and all circumstances. Amen.
For Further Reading