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24 October, 2010

Lord, Teach Us To Pray

Matthew 6:5-6
"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."

1 Timothy 2:8
"I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer, without anger or disputing."

The Bible is clear in the first chapter of the New Testament that one should pray quietly and not on street corners. Later, it insists on men praying everywhere. Which is it?

Well, the first quote is said to have come from Jesus himself, so let's go ahead and establish that one as the definitive rule just for the sake of argument. What then, to make of those that are making money selling books on how to proselytize on street corners (Ray Comfort), and the owners of mega churches that broadcast their prayers all over the place (LDS, Rick Warren, Joel Osteen)? If Timothy is correct, these folks are fine. But then what to say about those that modestly pray at home? Shouldn't someone do something about them? They aren't being outspoken enough. Do they still get to go to heaven?

The inherent flaws in the Bible cause so much confusion that there are more than 30,000 sects of Christianity, each with its own set of rules.  All of them rely on scripture to justify their beliefs. How does anyone that is seeking a spiritual life decide how to live? The morality in the Bible is divisive and confusing, not unifying and absolute as Christians would have you believe. If they can't get something as simple as prayer right, can you imagine what else they got wrong? How can you trust the Bible at all?


  1. "The Bible is clear in the first chapter of the New Testament that one should pray quietly and not on street corners. Later, it insists on men praying everywhere."

    It contradicts itself EVERYWHERE. It's one reason why I find it so hard to believe someone can actually take it literally.... how do you pick and choose which parts are the literal ones?

  2. This argument is not a good argument of contradiction. These two passages are not truly contradictory as they still focus on the same core reason for prayer. Prayer is not intended to gain acclaim or the respect of one's peers, but rather to commune with Christ.

    The hypocrites noted in the first passage pray publicly "that they may be seen by others," and this is their mistake. Instead, they should pray privately in order to maintain the sanctity of the relationship between himself and God.

    The passage from Timothy is not relating to whether one is on a street corner or in the temple, but simply no matter where one is, they should be able to spiritually meet with God; there need not be a single designated place where he can talk to God, but any place will do at any time. Because Christianity is a relational faith, prayer is about having a conversation with God. It's purpose is not to gain acclaim and that is the sin of the hypocrites in the first passage, not their physical location. Instead, prayer should be assumed with no need of external approval. Timothy doesn't really disagree with this, as the purpose of this passage is to encourage members of all races in all countries at any time to pray in Christ.

  3. So doe the following passage about women dressing moderately also only count when Christians are meeting in fellowship? How about the next that doesn't permit a woman to teach? Only when other Christians are meeting or all the time? And if you're the creator of the universe and you want to get you message across, why not be clearer so that your followers don't have to bend over backward to "interpret" your word? This is just one small example of thousands.