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Two young boys were spending the night at their grandparents. At bedtime, the two boys knelt beside their beds to say their prayers when the youngest one began praying at the top of his lungs. "I PRAY FOR A NEW BICYCLE... I PRAY FOR A NEW PLAYSTATION... I PRAY FOR A NEW VCR..." His older brother leaned over and nudged the younger brother and said, "Why are you shouting your prayers? God isn't deaf." To which the little brother replied, "No, but Grandma is!"

There is the temptation to pray to people rather than to God. We've all heard public prayers, I'm sure, that were worded in such a way so as to "preach" to the congregation rather than to approach the throne of God. That's why Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount:

"And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly." (Matthew


Jesus was not forbidding (as some have suggested) public prayer. Jesus offered many public prayers himself. However, he was warning us about the tendency to pray our prayers for the express purpose of being heard by other people.

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