Prayer: Day 1

“But when 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.” (Matthew 6:6)

Intentions: That me way be able to pray without regard for our selfish ego, but with sincerity of heart, that we may be satisfied only with the presence and grace of God; that we may realise the grace that is present to us through prayer, where we receive far more than we every contributed.

Action: Be mindful of your motives in whatever you do throughout the day. Do you do things out of pure love, or do you perform to gain human approval? Examine your attitude to prayer. Do you see prayer as a tiresome duty, or as a door of opportunity where you can give your whole self in an act of love, and in return receive grace for you and the world?


7 thoughts on “Monday”

  1. i have been waiting for you to write. The bible verse seems to suggest that if you go in the room to pray that he will reward you. Isn;t that a minute form of selfishness in itself. let me get this straight. You pray in silence. You get rewarded from God. Thats a motive…no? Shouldn’t you go in the room to pray without the expectation of a reward.

    For me thats a true sincerity. Can you explain that for further for if I am wrong?

  2. Good point, Wei-Yen. I think this concept of a “reward” puts off a lot of people, for sure.

    I think we need to have a proper understanding of what Heaven is like in order to understand what this reward is. Luckily, my previous blog entry “On Love and the Trinity” hints at this a little bit. Let me quote from that post: “Heaven is all about joining in the Triune communion” and; “Heaven is a state where a soul participates in this infinite and eternal exchange of love”.

    So, what then is the reward? It is *love*. A soul which is able to love more, is able to receive more love. By renouncing worldly fame in this way, a soul is in effect declaring, “no, I will not do this in order to satisfy my own ego – God’s love and grace is enough for me”. So it is the act itself which is loving, and the loving itself is therefore the reward.

    So yah, there is a motive. Love, however, is not a worldly reward. It’s seemingly immediately and greatly pleasurable to win acclaims from people. Love is perhaps much less tangible than this, but it is Heavenly – that is, it’s both heaven-sent, and the stuff heaven itself is made of. Funnily enough, we all know that it’s right and holy and beautiful for a soul to *want* to love and be loved, even though that is the most rewarding thing.

    In this way, it is *right* to expect a reward. Afterall, if there was no “reward” at all for praying in secret, what is the point? It’s precisely because the “reward” is a superior one, a beautiful one, that we are drawn to it and sacrifice our ego-centric desires.

    Does that clarify a few things?

  3. We maybe going round in circles. So love as a reward. Is that being loved by God (who is love). Loved by love. Is that the reward? Or is giving love the reward? Or both?

    PS. I can give love freely no?

  4. And if it is receiving the love a reward, and thats a motive then isn’t that being a form of selfish act in itself even in a minute form?

    Just because it comes in a form of “love” doesn’t mean that its not a selfish act….if you get my drift…

  5. It really is simpler than it sounds. In a way, Jesus is here speaking in a way one would to a child. I think you’ll find that a lot of the Scriptures is multi-layered, for the reason that it is meant to be communicable to everybody. The deeper you go, the more profound the meaning; that’s the case here.

    Have a look at it this way. It’s like falling in love. God’s relationship to mankind is always expressed as a man-woman relationship: God’s covenant with Israel was described in terms of betrothal and marriage; In the New Testament, Christ is described as the bridegroom, while Church is the bride.

    Now, there are obvious rewards in a marital relationship, but would anyone say that one is selfish for wanting to marry? I think not; and that’s because true love ought to be a self-sacrificing one, and it’s beautiful and “right”. Love is a “giving, receiving and reciprocating” process. Giving itself is a reward, as is receiving, as is the reciprocating. So I guess it’s heart-intentions as much as anything; I mean, some people do marry for the wrong reasons, and so some people pray in the same way. So, in prayer one must be able to say, “not my will, but thine be done”, and it has to be lived out for it to have been meaningful. One must therefore give to God sovereignty over one’s own desires for worldly possessions, pleasures, and ambitions – and that’s why the vows in religious orders contain the three-fold renunciation: “poverty, chastity and obedience”.

    Is that better?

    God bless!

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