Question:

Pleasant good morning,

I'd appreciate some guidance, please. I have observed prayers in the comment section under news articles of tragic incidents. When tragedy strikes I could, in the privacy of my home, say a prayer for those involved, and believe that God hears my prayers. However, others are posting their prayers on Facebook pages and WhatsApp Status.

The argument for this practice could be:

  1. Written prayers may be a guide for others who may find it difficult to string words together as they pray.
  2. It can encourage others to pray more.
  3. It can reignite the conversation of prayer as many years ago prayers were banned from being said in public schools, though religious clubs and private prayers were permitted.

However, what about Matthew 6:5? This has been on my mind for years now, but when I saw a brother respond to a sister's prayer request by posting the actual prayer in the Facebook comment section. I realized that I needed clarity on this topic.

I would be most grateful if you could provide some guidance.

Answer:

"Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven. So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you" (Matthew 6:1-6).

Jesus was not forbidding practicing charity and prayers in public. What he warned against was doing righteous acts in front of people for the purpose of being noticed.

The Bible is filled with people's prayers, so writing out what you prayed for others to read is not wrong. If you want the person you are praying for to know what you asked of God on their behalf, I see nothing wrong with letting them know.  But if you are writing them down so others will see you as a religious person, then the motivation is wrong.

Since you and I can't tell why people are posting their prayers, it is best to assume that it is for good reasons. "Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men's hearts; and then each man's praise will come to him from God" (I Corinthians 4:5).

Response:

Many thanks, Brother Hamilton.  I truly appreciate you taking the time to respond.

I will from this moment assume the best and will no longer be disturbed by published prayers.

Again, thank you, not just for the response to my question but for many others that you've answered. When I seeking additional information online, I usually include La Vista Church of Christ in the search engine.

May God continue to bless you!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email