Upon examination of Scripture, do we find any instance of Jesus praying with his disciples? Or, do we find him abstaining from praying with them.
At Matthew 6:5 notice what Jesus says with regard to prayer:
And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
Did Jesus practice what he taught? Notice the following Scripture at Matthew 26:36:
Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.”
So yes, Jesus did practice what he preached. He could have said to his disciples who were with him, “Let us pray” but he did not. He said, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.”
So prayer was to be a private matter between the individual and God, not a collective or group of people and God.
Even when we pray for one another, we are to do so as an individual in private to our Father in heaven. No other human should be present when you are in prayer to your Father in heaven.
Failure to do this makes one “like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others.” Notice the reference to standing in the synagogues. What can one reference this to today? Being within the Churches praying! Even though one may be within a building, there are other people present when all pray together. This is public and improper and is in opposition to what Jesus taught.
What about the Lord’s evening meal (celebration of the Passover) with his disciples on the night before his death in Luke Chapter 22? Notice how Luke 22:19-20 reads:
And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me. In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.
The expression gave thanks is not the same as saying a prayer. Typically before most persons today even touch the meal in front of them they say a prayer first and then the touch the food. Here, we see Jesus first taking the bread and then give thanks (assuming he was saying a prayer).
Additionally, if Jesus prayed after he took the bread what did he pray about? Why would the Bible writer leave the details of that prayer out?
The reason is because the expression gave thanks is not Jesus saying a prayer. It is Jesus blessing the bread in what it stood for, his precious body that would be broken for us all. Breaking the bread denotes to us the manner of Christ’s death, for although his legs were not broken, as the thieves legs were, his body was very severely tormented, and torn, and bruised.
By partaking in the eating of the bread, the disciples would be blessed because in a figurative sense, Jesus will always be a part of them and he in them.
So Luke 22:19-20 does not have Jesus praying with his disciples. Jesus taught them the proper manner of prayer: that for each of them, it was a private matter between their heavenly Father just as it was a private matter for him.
Jesus would not have said what he said at Matthew 6:5 and go back on it and engage in group prayer with his disciples or anyone else.
So why do so many people pray together as a church group or a family? Because that is what men teach them to do. Jesus’ teachings have been so badly distorted and even ignored by those claiming to believe in him, that when someone – such as myself – show from Scripture that to engage in public or group prayer is hypocritical as Jesus stated, they take offense at it and view you as someone who does not know what they are talking about. The information is unpalatable and something they are not accustomed to hearing. Few ever come to realize that the truth has never been easy to accept and digest into one’s marrow. The world spews out like something nasty in their mouths, the truth.
Given that we live in a world controlled by Satan, it really should not be surprising that such a thing takes place on a very wide scale. Satan wants the inhabitants of the earth to be against or “anti” to Christs teachings.
Many of Satan’s ministers are persons who stand behind the pulpit leading (misleading) persons to do what Jesus said that they are not to do.
The situation is such today that public prayer and group prayer within the household and with the churches is so deeply rooted, that when someone comes forth and shows that Jesus did not teach this, they defend the thing that Jesus did not teach and look at you like there is something wrong with you.
Yet, what is comforting to know is that Jesus told us the proper manner in which we are to pray (Matthew 6:6) and he himself led by example and practiced what he taught others with regard to prayer. (Matthew 26:36)
Those who engage in public prayer – yes, saying a prayer over a meal in a public restaurant, sporting events, in church or engaging in group prayer – is not following the pattern Jesus taught. Prayer is to be in private, in secret, and it is a matter between you alone and your Father in heaven.
If there are many believers and you wish to pray for a thing or about a matter, each of you should approach the Father in private and pray, not collectively as a group.
My advice is to take courage and not be in fear of men or the persons who say that it is OK to pray as a group or in public in full view of everyone observing. Listen to Jesus as The Most High God directed us to; and Jesus says if you pray in public and even within the synagogues, you follow the course of a hypocrite and not that of a person who fears God so as to obey him and listen to his Son.
This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him. (Luke 9:35)