I’ve had the plea­sure this school year of teach­ing the 7-12th grade Sun­day school class at my church in a study through Matthew’s Gospel. We’ve got a really bright bunch of teens who are very good at think­ing deeply about the impli­ca­tions and appli­ca­tions of the text.

We had some espe­cially engag­ing dis­cus­sions in , which begins in : “Beware of prac­tic­ing your right­eous­ness before other peo­ple in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.” We talked about how we should be giv­ing, pray­ing and fast­ing in a way such that we guard against doing it in a way so as to be seen by others.

How strik­ing is the warn­ing of . Yet daily I see pas­tors (and those who aspire to be pas­tors copy­ing those chatty pas­tors) post­ing 140-character per­sonal prayers. Are they not doing the social media equiv­a­lent of stand­ing and pray­ing “in the syn­a­gogues and at the street cor­ners, that they may be seen by oth­ers” ()? So that they can be re-Tweeted or like-buttoned?

Why do those need to be on Twit­ter or Face­book? Is it so that they are seen by others?

Encour­ag­ing oth­ers to pray using social media is prob­a­bly just fine. Using social media so that your prayers can be seen by oth­ers? I think Scrip­ture coun­sels against that.

Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.”

Don’t let that be you.


6:1 “Beware of prac­tic­ing your right­eous­ness before other peo­ple in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.

“Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trum­pet before you, as the hyp­ocrites do in the syn­a­gogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by oth­ers. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giv­ing may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

“And when you pray, you must not be like the hyp­ocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the syn­a­gogues and at the street cor­ners, that they may be seen by oth­ers. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 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.

“And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gen­tiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Pray then like this:

“Our Father in heaven,
hal­lowed be your name.

10 Your king­dom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.

11 Give us this day our daily bread,
12 and for­give us our debts,
as we also have for­given our debtors.

13 And lead us not into temp­ta­tion,
but deliver us from evil.

14 For if you for­give oth­ers their tres­passes, your heav­enly Father will also for­give you, 15 but if you do not for­give oth­ers their tres­passes, nei­ther will your Father for­give your trespasses.

16 “And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hyp­ocrites, for they dis­fig­ure their faces that their fast­ing may be seen by oth­ers. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 17 But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 that your fast­ing may not be seen by oth­ers but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

19 “Do not lay up for your­selves trea­sures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for your­selves trea­sures in heaven, where nei­ther moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your trea­sure is, there your heart will be also.

22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, 23 but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of dark­ness. If then the light in you is dark­ness, how great is the darkness!

24 “No one can serve two mas­ters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You can­not serve God and money.

25 “There­fore I tell you, do not be anx­ious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than cloth­ing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they nei­ther sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heav­enly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anx­ious can add a sin­gle hour to his span of life? 28 And why are you anx­ious about cloth­ing? Con­sider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they nei­ther toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomor­row is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of lit­tle faith? 31 There­fore do not be anx­ious, say­ing, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gen­tiles seek after all these things, and your heav­enly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the king­dom of God and his right­eous­ness, and all these things will be added to you.

34 “There­fore do not be anx­ious about tomor­row, for tomor­row will be anx­ious for itself. Suf­fi­cient for the day is its own trou­ble. (ESV)


6:1 “Beware of prac­tic­ing your right­eous­ness before other peo­ple in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. (ESV)


6:1 “Beware of prac­tic­ing your right­eous­ness before other peo­ple in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.

“Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trum­pet before you, as the hyp­ocrites do in the syn­a­gogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by oth­ers. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giv­ing may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

“And when you pray, you must not be like the hyp­ocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the syn­a­gogues and at the street cor­ners, that they may be seen by oth­ers. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 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.

“And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gen­tiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Pray then like this:

“Our Father in heaven,
hal­lowed be your name.

10 Your king­dom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.

11 Give us this day our daily bread,
12 and for­give us our debts,
as we also have for­given our debtors.

13 And lead us not into temp­ta­tion,
but deliver us from evil.

14 For if you for­give oth­ers their tres­passes, your heav­enly Father will also for­give you, 15 but if you do not for­give oth­ers their tres­passes, nei­ther will your Father for­give your trespasses.

16 “And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hyp­ocrites, for they dis­fig­ure their faces that their fast­ing may be seen by oth­ers. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 17 But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 that your fast­ing may not be seen by oth­ers but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

19 “Do not lay up for your­selves trea­sures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for your­selves trea­sures in heaven, where nei­ther moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your trea­sure is, there your heart will be also.

22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, 23 but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of dark­ness. If then the light in you is dark­ness, how great is the darkness!

24 “No one can serve two mas­ters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You can­not serve God and money.

25 “There­fore I tell you, do not be anx­ious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than cloth­ing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they nei­ther sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heav­enly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anx­ious can add a sin­gle hour to his span of life? 28 And why are you anx­ious about cloth­ing? Con­sider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they nei­ther toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomor­row is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of lit­tle faith? 31 There­fore do not be anx­ious, say­ing, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gen­tiles seek after all these things, and your heav­enly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the king­dom of God and his right­eous­ness, and all these things will be added to you.

34 “There­fore do not be anx­ious about tomor­row, for tomor­row will be anx­ious for itself. Suf­fi­cient for the day is its own trou­ble. (ESV)


“And when you pray, you must not be like the hyp­ocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the syn­a­gogues and at the street cor­ners, that they may be seen by oth­ers. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. (ESV)