And when you pray, don’t be like performing actors who love to pray in assemblies and stand on street corners so that people can see them. In all honesty, I say to you, that is their payment.–Matthew 6:5
Jesus: Tell me. What’s up with those people who want to pray in schools and sporting events? It’s strange that they want to pray publicly.
Me: I can’t speak for all of your followers but I think people enjoy praying together.
Jesus: There has to be something else to it because that’s not praying. I’m kind of an expert on prayer. That is not prayer.
Me: What do you mean that’s not praying? Of course, it’s praying. It is people talking to God, just like you taught us to do.
Jesus: I never taught you to pray like that. In fact, I told you, if you want to follow me, not to pray publicly like that. So this whole concept of praying publicly is the exact opposite of what I asked you to do.
Me: But we pray in worship services.
Jesus: Are you trying to suggest that a high school graduation is a worship service? Is a session of Congress a worship service?
Me: Of course not, but people want to pray as a way to center themselves, as a way to think of God first.
Jesus: I disagree. The real reason people want to pray in public has nothing to do with their relationship with our Father. It has to do with their relationship with themselves.
Me: What do you mean?
Jesus: These are not even prayers. They are performances. The whole thing is a pretend conversation with God. And like any good enactment, the goal is to be heard. People pray publicly so that others can hear them.
Jesus: Pray so that God can hear you, not everyone else.