And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites, because they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners, so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, They have their reward in full.
But you, when you pray, enter into your private room, and shut your door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will repay you.
Although the Lord speaks about the matter of reward (vv. 1, 5), the important thing here is not the reward, but the growth in life. The saints who grow openly do not grow in a healthy way. We all need some secret growth in life, some secret experiences of Christ. We need to pray to the Lord, worship the Lord, contact the Lord, and fellowship with the Lord in a secret way. Perhaps not even the one closest to us will know or understand what we are doing. We need these secret experiences of the Lord because such experiences kill our self and our flesh. Although anger and lust are ugly, the thing that most frustrates us from growing in life is the self. The self is most visible in the fact that it enjoys doing things in a public way, in the presence of man. The self likes to do righteous deeds before man. We all must admit that, without exception, we have such a self. Those who always want to do things in such a way as to make a public show are full of self, full of the flesh. The self loves to be glorified, and the flesh loves to be gazed upon. Probably you have never heard a message on these verses that dealt with the self and the flesh. Whenever we come to this portion of the Word, we must realize that it exposes our self and our flesh.