“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. Therefore you will receive greater condemnation.” - Matthew 23:14
Jesus today warns us about being a pretender and not a possessor of true Christian piety. The scribes and Pharisees pretended to have a more exact knowledge of the law. They felt they, only, had the accurate interpretation of the laws of God. They received money for prayers while purporting to assist widows and others but they were bringing poverty rather than blessing and prosperity. They were known for their long prayers, some lasting up to three hours and trying to manipulate unsuspecting widows to part with their money.
How sad it is that eloquent and even lengthy prayers can be said without God even hearing and, of course, not answering them.
The length of a prayer, or time spent in prayer, is not what impresses God, but the faith of our prayers. Praying to be heard by others, or praised for the poetry of the prayer, does not bring an answer from God.
When we pray it is simply talking to God, believing He will hear and answer our prayers. Prayer must be more than words flowing from our mouth - they must be from the heart.
Of course prayer must be according to the will of God and in faith. To be seen and heard was the attitude of the scribes and Pharisees and Jesus says this was all a sham.
Make sure today that you are not a pretender when it comes to the things of God, but in all things a true expression of Him. Not a person of self-righteousness but a person of love, faith and integrity.
Dear heavenly Father You have given me yet another day in which to serve You. Thank You for this wonderful privilege. Please make me aware of any pretence or tendency towards self-exaltation and self-righteousness. Help me to serve You today in truth and humility, I ask this in the name of the Lord Jesus.