How to Pray
But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly. Matthew 6:3-4
Imagine someone stopping to give money to a homeless person at an exit off the highway, but before they do, they crank up their stereo and shout out for everyone to hear, Hey, I'm giving five bucks to this homeless dude!
Or what if you're just sitting in church and someone jumps up from their seat, slam dunks their offering in the bag, and shouts out a scream like they're doing a touchdown celebration dance?
Now, don't get me wrong. It's good to be enthusiastic about giving, but is this how giving should go? No. You don't want to do it like that. In fact, Jesus says that's how the hypocrites give. They kind of blow a horn, make a big scene, and dance in the streets. God says they have their glory; they've had their fifteen minutes of fame. But that's all the reward they'll get for their good deed.
So how should we give? Here's how we do it. We do it in secret, so that our Father who sees in secret will reward us. After all, do you prefer the reward of man or the reward of God? I know, it's a silly question, right? But you maybe wouldn't think so if you realized how much people give the wrong way.
And it's not just about giving; it's about praying and fasting, too. Because Jesus goes on to say that the hypocrites would wear their worst clothes, not shower, and make sure their faces looked sad when they fasted so that everyone would know what they were doing. They would pray loudly in public so that everyone would be impressed with how spiritual they were. In other words, all the good things they did were done so that people would like them-God wasn't really even in the picture of their hearts.
Alright, step one-as a church, we have got to be doing good, charitable deeds. We have to be tithing. We have to be giving offerings. We have to be praying. We have to be fasting. And, yes, I said, Have to. Why? Because Jesus didn't say, If you pray, fast, and give; He said, When you pray, fast, and give.
Step two-make sure your heart's right. When you do all those good things that you are now going to do, do them for God, knowing that He not only sees what you do, but the heart with which you do it. And your Father, who sees in secret, will reward you openly for all to see.
Prayer Father God,
Thank You that You have told me what's important to You. Please help me to see opportunities around me to do good for others and let Your Spirit work in my heart so that it will be right before You!