And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
As Dr. Harvey and I have been sharing written prayers in these daily devotions for the past number of weeks, we hope that you have been led closer to God in your own prayerful conversations. Public and printed prayers can at times help us find words for some of these talks. But we shouldn’t forget that Jesus himself encouraged us to mainly make prayer a private affair.
In searching for public prayers that might be useful in our private prayer lives, I have come across a reminder of the proper place for some of the prayers I have penned or pilfered.
In the Worshipbook (jointly published in the early 1970’s by The Cumberland Presbyterian Church, The PCUS, and The United Presbyterian Church), we find this prayer “Prayer for Those Who Write Prayers.” Let this prayer be my confession and humble sign-off to this series of devotional musings.
Almighty God, you have no patience with solemn assemblies, or heaped-up prayers to be heard by people. Forgive those who have written prayers for congregations. Remind them that their foolish words will pass away, but that your word will last and be fulfilled, in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.