“When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites! They love to stand up and pray in the houses of worship and on the street corners, so that everyone will see them. I assure you, they have already been paid in full” (Matthew 6:5 TEV).
We worship God when we’re honest with God.
In New Testament times, the Pharisees were pros at pretentious prayers. It became quite a source of pride. They were showing off, trying to impress people with their prayers.
The problem is, they weren’t impressing God. God wants us to be honest when we pray. Being genuine when we approach God and talk to God is part of worship.
Jesus taught that prayer is not something you do to be seen. Here are two suggestions for helping you to get real with God:
Don’t try to impress others with your prayers. Have you ever heard a prayer prayed and when the person finished you wanted to go, “Wow! What a performance!” It sounded so good and you thought that it was great.
Or, have you ever been in a prayer group and everybody’s praying around a circle and you’re thinking, “There's only three left until me . . . only two left . . . only one . . . I’m next! What am I going to say that hasn’t already been said? What are they going to think?” When you stop worrying about what other people will think about your prayer life, then you’ll be released to enjoy prayer. God doesn’t care how you say it.
Don’t try to impress God with your prayers. Often we do this unconsciously. We pray things that we think God wants us to say, rather than praying what’s really on our hearts. God made you the way you are, so He wants you to be real when you talk to Him. He already knows the real you; He knows all the great things about you and He knows all the bad things you’ve done—and He still loves you!