Matthew 6:5-7 (NLT)
5 �And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 6 But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. 7 And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.
In these verses Jesus is warning us about pride within the body of the church. There were those who called attention to themselves, not for the sake of glorifying God, but for the sake of glorifying themselves. These people receive acknowledgement from others while those who worshipped in private received their acknowledgement from The Lord.
I want to acknowledge and thank a local TV station, WXIA 11 Alive, for showing a group of their reporters at lunch, taking the time to pray before starting their meal on their Facebook page. Many of us have been taught to say a blessing before eating a meal. It is a sacrament that seems to have faded away from traditions of long ago. It is not only a Christian sacrament; for many other religions also give thanks for the food they are about to receive. However, it seems that it is the Christians who are attacked for their actions, sometimes even by those saying they are Christians. I think the quote I heard that says Christians are the quickest to wound their own and leave them on the battle field is so often true.
Let me say directly that there is nothing wrong in giving thanks to The Lord, even in public. Some people were using the verses above on Facebook to say these reporters should have kept their prayers private and away from the sight of others. If we want to take the verses above so literal then we need to see that it talks about those who stand before the crowds so they may be heard. These reporters were peacefully sitting and talking among themselves. The verses of The Bible need to be seen in the appropriate context and with an understanding of grace and mercy. Jesus was talking to those who wanted to place attention on them and not on God.
I once heard a Pastor named Tony Evans speak. Tony said he was once asked to say a prayer for a Dallas football team before the start of a game. I�m not sure who was communicating with Tony, but they said something to the effect he may not want to mention the name of Jesus. You have to know Tony. He is a faithful Christian who places his faith in Jesus and gives Jesus the glory for all that is done in his life. When it came time to pray, Tony didn�t hesitate in thanking Jesus and closing the prayer in the name of Jesus. Tony did not let intimidation keep him from praising the one he loved, JESUS.
So I applaud the 11 Alive crew for holding firm to what they believe. I am glad to see there are Christians who are not afraid to let their faith be seen. We are to shine as candles to the world so others may hear the wonderful news of God. Let us all give glory to The Lord for all that He has done!