From the Pastor’s Pen:
Final thoughts on Mark 12:38-40
Then He said to them in His teaching, “Beware of the scribes, who desire to go around in long robes, love greetings in the marketplaces, the best seats in the synagogues, and the best places at feasts, who devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. These will receive greater condemnation.” NKJV
In this passage, Jesus stresses the importance of making sure your motives are right. You can do the right thing for the wrong reason and end up being punished, instead of blessed.
For example, we can perform Christian duties and services, or give monetary offerings, or take a position of service in the church to please people, instead of pleasing God. We can marry someone for money or looks, instead of because we believe it to be God’s will, based on the person’s spiritual qualities. Let us be sure in our choices and actions that our motives are right.
Let us be certain that our choice of clothing or the use of our honorable titles such as Reverend, Doctor, etc. are not being used from a heart filled with pride to promote ourselves. The Bible warns us against being men-pleasers, rather than God-pleasers ((Eph. 6:6-7, Gal. 1:10, Col. 3:22-23).
Sadly some church members like to pray long public prayers, filled with flowery religious phrases, because they like to be admired by others, not because of the part the prayer plays in the worship service. Long prayers have no place in public worship. Public prayer should be specific for the occasion and to the point. Long prayers belong in the private prayer arena where we get alone with God, being honest with Him, confessing our specific sins to Him, and sharing whatever is on our hearts with Him for as long as we need or want to.
When you hear someone praying a long public prayer, it usually has to do with wanting to be seen or heard and is unruly, not being done decently and in order I Cor. 14:40).