5 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
Jesus teaches us today that prayer, like any other spiritual discipline, can become prideful. When we pray to be seen by others, we have already received our reward in full. Meaning if we are looking to receive the praise of others because of our religious rituals, we are going to come up empty. We will miss out on the most important reward of prayer, an intimate relationship with our Heavenly Father. Since Jesus knows our human nature and propensity to want recognition from what we do, he gives us a strategy.
He says, when you pray go into your room and close the door and pray to your Father who sees what is done in secret. Then, you will not be tempted to miss the point of prayer. The point of prayer is to connect with your Heavenly Father by talking to him. Whenever I want to have a serious conversation with anyone, I will go to a place where I can hear them and they can hear me. And to find a place free of distractions. This is why so many find it easy to pray early in the morning. It is usually a time that you won't be bothered, and the distractions of the day haven't found you yet.
Finally, Jesus tells us how to pray. He says when you pray it is not about the amount or type of words you use. We don't need flowery, religious language to pray. When Jesus prayed he said. "Abba Father", which meant "daddy". A lot of people don't like to pray out loud because they don't think that will be as eloquent as the "pro prayer". But God looks at our hearts, not our words. God delights in hearing from His children. Just like when a good friend or child reaches out to you. You are happy to hear from them and see how they are doing because you love and care for them.
What would your day be like, if every day you found a quiet, secret, place to speak with your Father in heaven. I think you would find it very rewarding. Not only rewarding for the quiet time you spend with Him, but it will start your day with the proper focus. When we seek Him first each day, Jesus will say later in this chapter, "Everything you need will be provided for". This is a reward the world could never give.