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b) Prayer in Solitude
(Matthew 6:5-8)
5And 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.6But 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.7And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.8Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things, you have need of before you ask him. (Isaiah1:15)

Every religion has special rituals to exercise prayer, as prayer is a basic element of religion. The Jews raised their hands to receive immediately the blessing of God directly descending upon them. Sometimes they prayed in public in the streets and alleys to draw attention to themselves. But we, the Christians, have no determined routine arrangement for prayer, since Christ has exempted us from rituals and formalities. We are not slaves in the eyes of God. We are sons and we talk to our Heavenly Father whether sitting, walking, standing or kneeling. The essence of prayer is speaking to God as sons speak to their father, presenting to Him thanks, praise and confession of sin, as well as asking forgiveness and prayer and supplication for others. As you speak to your bodily father, you should rather speak and express your own affections to your Heavenly Father.
In prayer, we have more immediately to do with God than in giving alms, and therefore we are yet more concerned to be sincere, which is what we are here directed to. It is taken for granted that all Christ’s disciples pray. As soon as Paul was converted, it was said about him “behold he prays.” You may as soon find a living man that does not breathe, as a living Christian that does not pray.
Generally, we do not pray in public. He who does not pray in secret does not pray with a group too, for we do not pray to people, but to God directly. Your Heavenly Father always hears you and knows what you need before you ask Him. During prayer, your sins, false hopes and exciting desires disappear, since you recognize God’s presence with you. It is advisable to kneel, but you are saved by your faith not by your outward movements. You have the right to prostrate yourself just as Christ did in Gethsemane, but God does not save you for your kneeling down or prostration. He saves you because He loves you. He sacrificed His only Son for you before you ever worshipped Him.
If you want to pray, go into a quiet secret place. Close the door and pour out the worries and burdens of your heart before your Father. If you do not have a closet of privacy, go to the wilderness and speak there to your Heavenly Father and He will hear you. You are not able to live without prayer. As your body is unable to live without breathing, so your soul is unable to live without prayer. Pray several times a day with meditation on the Holy Bible if possible, that your prayer may become a response to your Father’s words to you. If you do not like to pray and you abstain from reading the Gospel, then you are on the brink of a great danger, for this means that you do not like to be alone with God. Do not you long to speak to your Heavenly Father? He is waiting for your words, your thanks and your trust.
The Pharisees prayed to men rather than to God. The scope of their prayer was to beg the honor of men and court their favors. Don’t fall into the same Pharisaical practice. Pray to God as a Father, as your heavenly Father who always is ready to hear and answer, graciously inclined to pity, help and support you. Pray to your Father who waits for you.
Much speaking, the love of long prayers is either a result of pride or superstition, or the wrong opinion that God needs either to be informed or argued with by us, or out of mere folly and impertinence, because men love to hear themselves talk. Not that all long prayers are forbidden; Christ prayed all night (Luke 6:12). There is sometimes need of prayers when our errands and our affections are extraordinary; but merely to prolong the prayer, as if it would make it more pleasing or more prevailing with God, is that which is here rejected. Long prayers are not condemned; no, we are bidden to pray always. The danger of this error is when we only say our prayers without thinking what we pray. This is explained by that of Solomon (Ecclesiastes 5:1), “Let your words be few,” considerate and well weighed; “choose out words” (Job 9:14) and do not say everything that comes uppermost. The heathen thought God needed many words to make Him understand what was said to Him, or to bring Him to comply with their requests, as if He were weak and hard to be entreated. Thus Baal’s priests were hard at it from morning till almost night with their vain repetitions, “Oh Baal, hear us; Oh Baal, hear us”; and vain petitions they were. But Elijah, in composed frame of voice and with a very concise prayer, asked for and received fire from heaven and then rain (1 Kings 18:26-45). If prayer is not sincere communication with God but merely Lip-labor, it is lost labor.
The God we pray to is our Father by creation, by covenant and by the Holy Spirit. Therefore our words to Him should be easy, natural and unaffected. Children do not need to make long speeches to their parents when they want any thing. It is enough to say, “My head, my head” (2 Kings 4:19). Let us come to our Father with the disposition of children, with love, reverence and dependence. Then we need not say many words, but are taught by the Spirit of adoption to say, “Our Father!”
Confess your offense to the Lord and don’t forget to say, “Thank You, oh Heavenly Father, for all Your gifts.” Seek knowledge, power and wisdom to realize love in your life. Let it be known to you that your Father knows you better than you know yourself.
Do you pray? This is the decisive question to examine your faith, for whenever you do not pray your soul and your conscience become sick. Confess your sins completely to your Lord soon. Seek your deep purification and cure that you may be filled with His Holy Spirit, which teaches you the heart prayer. Believe in whom you pray to. Your Father in heaven hears and responds. Then the joy of the Lord fills your heart and you pray not only for yourself, but also for all those whom the Lord puts on your heart. The Spirit of your Father will help you to pray in the right way!

O Heavenly Lord, thank You for You have allowed us to call You “Our Father.” Please teach us the accepted prayer and lead us with Your Holy Spirit that we may always glorify You and Jesus Christ. Help our friends, relatives and enemies that they approach You and dare to speak, “Our Father in heaven!”
What kind of prayer will be answered by our Father in heaven?