Presence Devotion #23
Matthew Destry – Communications Pastor
“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. 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”
“Faith without deeds is dead”, says the book of James. We do not live a merely inward walk with God (one confined to the heart and mind), but one that is expressed outwardly as well. We cannot merely think loving thoughts, for example. One must act lovingly.
But what happens when we become so focused on the external that we forget about the heart?
Jesus here teaches his disciples the middle section of what was a 3-point sermon on the importance of a thriving and ‘hidden’ spirituality. First, he talks to them about giving to the poor in secret (Matthew 6:1-4), last he talks to them about fasting in secret (Matthew 6:16-18), and in between, about secret prayer.
Part of the reward of #15inmychair is that no-one else knows you’re doing it. No one will give you kudos for spending time with God. This is a challenge. In our church community, it can be easy to want to ‘be seen’ doing the right things and living the right way. In our hyper-connected world of social media, these avenues can be a vehicle for self-promotion. It is this self-promoting behaviour that Jesus is addressing here.
When we spend time doing ‘spiritual things’ with the intent of glorifying self, we get it wrong. The reward is in the secret place – when there is seemingly no public reward, that is when the spiritual reward is greatest.
- What motivates you to spend #15inmychair?
- How do you navigate social media in a way that is encouraging but not boastful?
- How can you be more active and prayerful ‘behind the scenes’?