The disciple’s life is a life of authenticity. Jesus warns against the fake righteousness of “the hypocrites” (v.2), who make a production of their religion so that those who see it — their “audience” — will take notice and praise them.
Jesus taught that His disciples do what they do for an audience of one: their Heavenly Father. He sees what we do in secret (this is mentioned five times in this chapter), and He takes note of it.
This is true of giving to the needy, fasting, and praying. The Heavenly Father knows what we give, whether we are working for some kind of earth-bound reward or a heavenly one.
The Heavenly Father knows what we need before we ask, so a disciple’s prayer is not a well-rehearsed speech recited to impress. Instead, prayer is a secret conversation that acknowledges God’s holiness and power, surrenders to His will, and then trusts Him with the details.
With a God like that that — one who is infinitely trustworthy and listens to our prayers — there is no need for disciples of Jesus to worry or be anxious. The One who orders the natural world and feeds innumerable birds knows our needs and is more than able to meet them. As we press in to know Him and to love Him, He generously adds “all these things” to our lives (v.33).
And that is very comforting news for very troubling times (v.34)!