And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you ray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many ways. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Matthew 6:5-8
Few nations had nobler expectations of prayer than the Israelites, and no nation placed prayer higher on their priority list than they did. “Prayer is vital,” the rabbis said,” more important than all good works. However, certain crucial errors entered the Jewish prayer life. In Jesus’ time there was a growing tend towards strictly formal prayer. The Jews prayed according to three prescribed things: The first was the Shema that consisted of there short Scriptures. All Jews had to pray the whole Shem every morning and evening, and for this reason it ran the risk of becoming an idle repetition of words.
The Jewish liturgy also prescribed certain prayers for different occasions. There was scarcely and event or occasion that did not have special prayers: before and after meals; prayers concerning light, the new moon, lightning, comets, rain, storms, the sea, dams and rivers, receiving good news, and entering or leaving a town or city. This had to do with the fact that every event in life was brought to God’s attention. But because the prayers were so precisely prescribed, the whole system tended to become very formal. The prayers slipped from the tongue automatically, with little meaning. So, don’t view prayer as a formal commitment to ensure God’s grace. In the same way, we don’t want our quiet time to degenerate into a habit and become a mere formality.
He thought prayer to be more his business than anything else, and I have seen him come out of his closet with a serenity of face next to shining.
(By John Wesley, Founder of the Methodist Movement)
Grace and Peace to You My Friends