“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.”
In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus Christ laid out the foundations of Christianity; and in this section He addresses the wrong and right ways to pray. Prayer is not for show or to impress other people. It is designed to help us build a personal relationship with our Creator. The core of our prayer life is one-on-one, alone with God. When we pray in private, we can express our deepest emotions and be open with God in a way we could not be in public.
The example of the New Testament Church shows that this does not mean that there is no place for public prayer, as there are many examples of the Church of God praying together (Acts 1:14; 4:24-31; etc.). But we must always be on guard against the attitude of hypocrisy that Jesus warned about.
For more about what the Bible teaches about prayer, see our article “How to Talk to God.”