The Berean Expositor
Volume 52 - Page 99 of 207
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"Be careful not to do your `acts of righteousness' before men, to be seen of them. If
you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. So when you give to the
needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on
the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in
full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right
hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, Who sees what is
done in secret will reward you" (6: 1-4, N.I.V.).
Ostentatious religion may have reward here with human praise, but it receives none
from God later on. One cannot have it both ways. Some say we ought not to consider
the thought of reward at all. In one sense this is true. The all pervading motive should be
love for Him. But if God chooses to reward those whom He counts faithful, who are we
to disdain it? Some people act as though they are holier and wiser than the Lord. The
fact remains that the doctrine of reward runs right throughout the Bible and only
foolishness and blindness will ignore it. Great will be the disappointments of those who
miss God's rewards, for they are eternal and of infinite worth.
6: 5 - 12.
pp. 190 - 195
"But 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 of men. I tell you the truth, they have
received their reward in full.
When you pray, 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 words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before
you ask Him" (6: 5-8, N.I.V.).
Ostentation in praying is just as bad as ostentation in giving. The Lord warns against
the public actions of the Pharisees regarding prayer. All the reward they will get is the
admiration of those who watched their sanctimonious behaviour.  In contrast, the
disciples are advised to go into a quiet room where there is no distraction and there pray
to the Father.
Not only must they avoid the bad example of the Pharisees, but also the habits of
pagans in prayers to their gods. These pagans thought that long prayers and constant
repetition would move the gods to give them what they wanted.
And it has to be said that there are Christians today with similar views. They seem to
think that God can be worried into granting prayers and that such prayers, if repeated
many times are more likely to be answered than a petition made only once. Thus they