They love to pray on the corner of streets
Today is a wonderful day that the Lord hath made and I was up early. Well before daybreak and I am not always comfortable saying this, that the weather is great. Knowing that the cold snap that many people are struggling with at present back in my home town of Rochdale makes it harder. Being up early meant that I had completed my reading and study of the Bible a little earlier today. This gave me a little additional free time this afternoon. I wondered how best to use the time. I had some washing to do, so that is what my plan was then, to do my washing.
Now I don’t know if you are familiar with French launderettes. I’m not, but that doesn’t seem to be a requirement as there isn’t any traditional ones that I know of? There must be somewhere as ‘launderette’ is a French word. The only ones that I have seen are outside at the supermarkets. They are attached to the outside wall and have 3 coin operated machines; Big wash, little wash, and a dryer, that’s it, 3 machines in a row protected in a little thing like a bus shelter.
So my washing is in, coins are inserted and off the machine goes. Check my watch with the cycle time of 34 minutes, then I am just about to set off on a little stroll with Bertie and a lady has appeared whom, it turns out, is a little disappointed as she was going to use the ‘little wash’ machine.
There is nothing that I can do to help as the cycle has already started so off we go, in a different direction than we are used to. A little part of the town we have not seen before and I have a lovely little book titled ‘The Work God Blesses’ by Oswald j Smith that I have brought along with me. It is quite an old book, about 1930’s, a series of short writings by ‘Pastor of the Peoples Church, Toronto’. Smith, an anointed Evangelist and gifted writer, was an earnest, spirit drenched, man whose teachings of the Holy Spirit, transfer from the paper it is written on to the very heart of the believer. I have a zealous appetite for the writings of the older writers. They have a real tendency not to pacify but to cut to the heart of the scriptures.
Time passed quickly, and we had to head back. Descending down the hill on our return I could see the lady still stood there awaiting her turn for the machine. It seems an odd thing to do, ones washing outside in a supermarket car park. My mind drifted to the old saying about ‘not airing your dirty washing in public.’ Which was really a reference to gossip, but it also made me think of the verse in Matthew 6:5, where Jesus is giving instruction on prayer, we read;
“And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly I say to you, they have their reward.
“But you when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.”
You see that God is not impressed with big, loud, gigantic prayers. He wants you to communicate with Him on your own. Sometimes people do things thinking that they are impressing people. That maybe so, but the reality of that is there is no reward from heaven, for if they seek the plaudits of man in prayer that is supposed to be for God, then it will only be their own kingdom that they are attempting to build.
It may be that your life is surrounded, and finding that free time and space to ‘go to your room in secret and shut the door’ seems impossible. It isn’t, you can find that same place in a room crowded with people, or sat at your desk or with a mop in your hand cleaning the floor.
We may not all be afforded the free time and space that may seem necessary without incessant distractions, but we are all blessed with a God who is ever ready and ever pleased to hear our praise, our prayer, our plea, wherever we may be.