Do you ever wonder what Jesus meant when he said to pray in secret? If that’s what we’re supposed to do, why do we have these large services every week? And we even advertise! That doesn’t feel very secret. As I read the verses, I noticed that He was talking about the motivation. If you are praying, giving to the poor, or doing charity work, and are looking for the approval of others, making sure that people notice what you are doing, you have gotten exactly what you wanted. But, if you are doing it for God, coming from that inner, secret place, the reward is much different. It’s not to say that others can’t notice. We’re supposed to let our light shine through our actions, right? If what we’re doing is all for show, there is no light shining. If we do it out of love of God and His creation, we are radiant.
When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners so that others may see them. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you. (Matthew 6:5-6 NAB)