Monday, March 12, 2012

Prayer, Giving, and Deeds

Let's look at a few chapters from Matthew (specifically 5-7). This is sometimes referred to as the Sermon on the Mount, from what I understand. In it, Jesus talks about many things, and to name a few of those things, prayer, giving to the poor, and doing works. Prayer, Jesus says, is to be done in a personal place, away from others. Not on street corners, because if you do it there, you get recognition from people. God recognizes what is done in secret as well as in public. Jesus says that giving to the poor should not be proclaimed, but done so secretly that one hand will not even know what the other hand is doing. When it comes to doing works/deeds, Jesus says that we (Christians/those who follow God and do His will) are the light of the earth, and to not hide our deeds. By letting others see our deeds, that will bring praise to God, which is a very good thing. Later on, Jesus talks about how you can recognize who is a false/true prophet by the things that that person does. He says you know a tree is an apple tree because you see apples on it. Likewise, you can see that a person is serving God if they do things that are in line with God's character. However, just after that, Jesus says that there will be people who, on the day of judgement, will proclaim the things they did 'in God's name' but who will be denied by Jesus because, "[He] never knew [them.]"

So I am sensing something of a tension...or at least something that I have not been taught before. Praying and giving are not deeds that should be seen by others. They should be done for God's glory, not public recognition. Yet Jesus still said that we are to show others who we serve. This is something I am still learning how to do.


  1. honestly, if you've made God a part of your life and you're aware of even a fraction of how much He loves you, people will see a difference. Don't get caught up in whether or not to pray in public or publicly serve. whatever you do, do it for God. if you know you're doing something to glorify Him, it doesn't matter who sees and who doesn't see. that's my take.

  2. People should see a difference, yes, but I just don't know if I should be praying in public...I know it may seem silly or something, but to me it is honestly something I think about almost every time I eat at the dining hall. I know I shouldn't just go over it in my head multiple times, but it just keeps coming back up.

    I do agree though, that if your motive for doing a thing is to glorify God, it doesn't matter who is watching, because God is always watching..and that is nice but also convicting I think :P but it makes me glad. I appreciate your thoughts, thank you Jessica :)

  3. What are you intentions in praying before meals? Is it for attention? Because I highly doubt that it is.

    It makes me think of my dad. He never prays before a meal unless we go out to eat at a restaurant in which case, he will say a prayer aloud. It bothers me so much that he does this because it is not something that is done in the privacy of his own home, just when he's in public.

    Suggestion: try going a day without praying before meals in the dinning hall. See how it feels and maybe that'll help you figure things out.

    Also, are there any spots in the bible that specifically speak of praying before a meal?

  4. No, it is definitely not for attention. I tend not to like it when I draw attention to myself, or when attention is drawn to me.

    I have been not praying in the dining halls for many days now...and as far as Bible verses, I do not know of any that talk particularly about whether to or not to pray before meals, but in the stories where Jesus feeds thousands of people with only a few loaves of bread (and in a couple times, some fish) He does give thanks publicly, at least as far as I can tell. hmmm.....

    1. haha. First off, I am sleep deprived, so I am finding things to be really funny right now, but anyways...the dining halls have kinda been closed for many days now (because of spring break and all). haha. I know what you mean, though.

      And how has not praying before meals in the dining hall been going? Good, bad, meh?

  5. Well things in my life in general do not seem to be going 'well' but I don't know if/how not praying in the dining halls relates to that..