Jesus v. Paul 8 – Where to Pray

For the introduction to this serious, see here. (You can find Wb’s solid contribution to this dialogue here.)

This post can be found here.

(8) Paul–“I will therefore that men pray everywhere lifting up holy hands….” (1 Tim. 2:8) versus Jesus–“And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men…. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret” (Matt. 6:5-6). Those clamoring for prayer in the schools had better quote Paul and not Jesus.

As you can see, the comments in the post are plenty, but instead of reading them, I wanted to offer my own take.

First, the two passages,

In every place of worship, I want men to pray with holy hands lifted up to God, free from anger and controversy. (1Ti 2:8 NLT)


“When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I tell you the truth, that is all the reward they will ever get. But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you. (Mat 6:5-6 NLT)

The immediate solution to this is the two different types of prayer which is addressed. First, the Lord is speaking of individual prayers made by the Pharisees to draw attention to themselves. Some can see the difference in the Greek words used, but I prefer to see that Lord speaks of individual prayers made about such things as sin, repentance, or things sought from God, Paul is speaking of prayers made in the gathering of believers. The distinctly Pauline use of  ἐν παντὶ τόπῳ (1 Cor 1:2; 2 Cor 2:14; 1 Thess 1:8) indicates the place of the believer’s worship. This is not about individual petitions to God, but those made in the congregation of believers.

One is private petitions, one is public worship being lead by men with holy hands.

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