Questo articolo è disponibile anche in: Italian English Spanish


Dear Father Angelo,

“Jesus said to pray to the Father in your own room, alone, with the door closed.”

By this, did he also mean that it is better not to be seen when praying alone, or can one pray in front of others in humility?

Thank you, Father.

I pray for you.



Dear Simone,

1. It is useful to quote the words of our Lord: “when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners so that others may see them. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.”. (Mt 6:5-6).

2. Jesus said these words about the Pharisees who used to pray standing on the corners of the squares to be seen by the others.

Jesus does not intend to prohibit public prayer since community prayer, especially the Holy Mass, always takes place in public. 

3. St. John Chrysostom notes that those who pray to be seen “pretend to pray God, because they are watching the people around them” (Homilies on Matthew, 19:2).

4. Another old commentator, who read Saint John Chrysostom, writes: “Prayer is like a sort of spiritual tribute that the soul offers to God from its heart. Therefore, the more glorious the prayer is, the more carefully it must be protected, so that it does not lose its value if made for show; for this reason, he says: When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites.”

And “I believe that here the Lord is not referring to the place, but to the purpose of those who pray, in fact it is worthy to pray in the assemblies of the faithful, as it has been said (Ps 67:27): «In the churches bless your God».

Therefore, He prohibits praying in public only when this is done to be seen by other people; for this reason, He adds: only to be seen by others.

Whoever prays, therefore, should not do anything strange that draws attention, for example, shouting, or beating his chest, or raising his hands.” 

5. For this reason, Saint Augustin says “it is not forbidden to be watched by other people, but to act in order to be watched and admired by them” (De sermone Domini in monte).

6. Those who pray to be seen by other people have already received their reward because they do not seek the reward that comes from God, but the one that comes from the praise of men.

7. “But when you pray, go to your bedroom, and once you have shut the door, pray to your Father who is in secret.”

Here the Lord wants to explain us how one should pray.

St. John Cassian comments, “we should pray in complete silence, so that the intention of our demand remain concealed also from our enemies, who molest us especially while we are praying.” (Conferences 9:35).

And Saint Augustin: “Or ‘our bedrooms’ just means ‘our hearts’” (De sermone Domini in monte), so that only He, who knows the secrets of all hearts, will reward us.

8. Therefore, if you wish to pray alone, go to your bedroom, unless it is known that at home you recite Lauds and Vespers, in which case – if the others are silent – you can recite them also in the kitchen or in the living room if it is more comfortable to you.

Or – if you have the opportunity – go to the Church during the day to adore the Blessed Sacrament alone or to perform your devotions in a more intimate place.

I wish you well, I remember you to the Lord and I bless you.

Father Angelo