Last night was a great evening with several new faces! After some time in musical worship led by our worship team, we continued our discussion through the Sermon on the Mount.
Matthew 6:5-8 discusses prayer and how to engage with that discipline in order to access the Kingdom of Heaven. The main focus last night was on the ‘how’ and ‘why’ we pray. Jesus makes the point that we do not grow spiritually just because we pray, but only when we truly pray with the right motive and heart. The problem that inevitably arises is, “What if I know that my heart is not in the right place, but I just can’t change it?”
This is where the crux of Matthew 6:5-8 is brought to the surface. Jesus gives specific disciplines to engage in to bring our bodies, minds, and hearts into submission to our reborn Spirit. One of those disciplines is the discipline of secrecy. So far as it pertains to prayer, secrecy can look like hiding in a private place for the majority of your prayers (this discipline is only effective if 90% of your formal prayer time is in secret), not telling anyone that you were praying or that you pray in general, or intentionally not telling the people you are interceding for that you are praying for them.
One of the students brought up the fact that Daniel was declared righteous when he intentionally prayed openly in order to be seen by others. On the surface, Daniel could be accused of being a hypocrite that Jesus rebukes in Matthew 6; however, at that time in Daniel’s life, publicity was actually the proper discipline for him to engage in.
AND HERE IS THE ENTIRE POINT…
The disciplines and examples that Jesus gives throughout Matthew 6 are not rules and descriptions of prayer in general, but they are specific tactics to treat the specific sins and sinful attitudes that are mentioned. For someone who loves the attention and approval of other people, the seat of prestige and honor, and the sense of spiritual superiority, then the proper spiritual discipline to treat that sin is that of secrecy. For someone who lacks boldness, feels imprisoned by how others view them, does not want to seem spiritual, and greatly desires acceptance, then the proper spiritual discipline to treat that sin is that of publicity (much like what Daniel practiced).
You know your kids best! You have insights into their heart and motives that nobody else does. Bring that insight before the Lord and ask Him to give you specific disciplines to engage with your kids and lead them into the powerful life of God that is available here and now to all who believe!