Why Do the Hypocrites Do What They Do?

The hypocrites, Jesus said, love to stand and pray in public places. Why do they do that? Jesus said, “To be seen by others” (Matt. 6:5). Jesus is not against praying in public. Jesus is against praying to get attention.

The hypocrites prayed for the wrong motives.  But in the Kingdom of God, God looks at the heart. Kingdom living is heart living. We must live our righteousness with right motives. Sometimes, we pray to make people praise us for our devotion. Sometimes, we pray to impress people. Let us be careful that the way we pray, give, and serve the Lord is out of a pure motive. We should search our hearts when we pray.

Jesus added, “Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward” (Matt. 6:5). In the Greek, “they receive their reward.” Jesus does not say, “they shall receive more reward from God.” Jesus just says, “they receive their reward.” That’s all and no more.

There is the story of the ship that was tossed by the storm. It was taking in a lot of water.

“Realising that his ship was sinking, the captain suddenly called out, ‘Does anyone here know how to pray?’ A man stepped forward and said, ‘Yes, Captain, I know how to pray.’

“‘Good,’ said the captain. ‘You pray while the rest of us put on life jackets. We’re one short.’”[1]

That’s what happens when we pray the hypocritical way. We don’t receive the real reward—the reward of the Father. Hypocrites receive their reward from people today, but not from the Father tomorrow. They receive a temporal reward, but not an eternal reward.

Do you pray and serve God for the praises of men or the praise of God? It’s okay if I don’t receive the praise of people on earth. I want to receive the praise of God in heaven! It’s okay if I don’t receive the praise of people. I want to receive the praise of God!

[1] Sermon Illustrations: Prayer.” Cited Sept. 20, 2014. Online: http://hotsermons. com/sermon-illustrations/sermon-illustrations-prayer.html.

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