Matthew 5:20-48 were all about Jesus calling his disciples to Greater Righteousness. Through contrasting the Old Commandment with the New, he gave his disciples seven commands. If Chapter 5 was all about the what of the Christian life, then Chapter 6 is all about the how.
The first thing that Jesus does after calling his disciples to a Greater Righteousness is warn them about the dangers of that righteousness. Wait! What? Jesus wants us to know that it’s important that we as disciples not only do what is right, but that we do it in the right way. Righteousness that is overly conscious of itself, love impressed with its sacrifice, mercy that seeks attention, or purity done for show are ALL unrighteous.
We were created by our heavenly Father to be noticed, but by him and him alone — not other people. When we pray out of a motivation to be seen and praised by others, or even to impressed by ourselves, we fail to actually pursue the kind of Christ-honoring righteousness he calls us to. Genuine praying is directed to the Father and him alone! We need to make time to spend devoted time in prayer and, remembering Luther’s words, make our prayers “brief, consistent, and intense.”