Matthew 6:5-15 Private vs. Public Prayer
5/17/16 It has been a long time since I have been able to do a Digital Bible Journaling page, or even any scrapbooking, so I am thankful to be able to spend time in God's Word with art tonight. I studied and wrote the text for a few hours and then worked a few hours on the graphics. This took me much longer than I expected. I utilized a lot of supplies from my stash, so the credit list (on Flickr, click image) is rather long.
I have been belittled before for writing prayers because I should be only praying in private, so when the Digital Bible Journaling Group's theme was prayer for this month, I wanted to take on the challenge of studying these difficult verses to better understand them. The last thing I want to appear as doing is to share my Christian studies, writings, and prayers to gain attention for myself. I sure hope when I share it is none other than perceived as glorifying God.
I saw in this scripture a reference to "reward" twice and after a lot of thought, I feel I realized what the word means. I was delighted to have that better understanding. (Psssst. Be sure to read the text on the graphic for more.)
I also saw a pattern of examples in the Bible of public prayer as that of praising God and thanking Him, moreso than petitions for oneself or intercessions for others.
Finally, I considered my purposes in sharing, and concluded my heart to have a desire for mutual encouragement. This is only attained when praying together. Somewhere in the last ten years or so I picked up the phrase, "please pray with me" and will say it before I begin to pray with others. I gained a better understanding through this quiet time with God of why that is important, that public prayer should be "praying together." Praying together is what keeps public prayer focused on God rather than one person's public display. Our faith is mutually encouraged when we hear others pray for us, pray in agreement with each other, and learn how to pray while listening to other's prayers. When I pray with others, I always find their perspective something I did not think about, which opens my eyes and helps me through a situation. I get tickled and excited when I see prayer working in this way in my own life. In addition, just knowing someone is praying for me brings me peace and comfort and a feeling of love and caring.
Finally, I considered "Meet me at the Pole" at schools has a purpose of public display. I thought this was a great idea to get prayer back in school until I considered the purpose.