“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 men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full!
6 But 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. …
16 “When you fast, do not look sombre as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full!
17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face,
18 so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”
Prayer – Just between you and God
Jesus teaches about an unseen, spiritual world, and how that world, both good and evil, has a profound effect on our physical realities and our lives. Jesus also states that God is spirit, and prayer and fasting is our way of connecting with God. Communication with God is an awesome thing for our human minds to grasp. God our creator, or as Jesus describes, our “Father”, desires our company. This is a truly humbling thought; that He will be audience to our prayers and cries. However if these actions are for the eyes of man, to gain their praises and recognition, then our target audience has already been reached and our desires met. God has little interest in communing with us since we weren’t talking to him in the first place!
It is difficult for us to draw our focus on the unseen world as our physical world dominates our being everyday. That is why Jesus gives us the practical advice to do it “in secret” in order to help guide our hearts towards God, who is listening like a caring Father, and he will respond.
Jason Lau is a photographer and artist in Melbourne.