“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. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.”
King James Version (KJV)
6:5 The synagogues - These were properly the places where the people assembled for public prayer, and hearing the Scriptures read and expounded. They were in every city from the time of the Babylonish captivity, and had service in them thrice a day on three days in the week. In every synagogue was a council of grave and wise persons, over whom was a president, called the ruler of the synagogue. But the word here, as well as in many other texts, signifies any place of public concourse.
Mt 6:5 And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be, etc. The second example of the right and wrong kind of righteousness is now given. That men ought to pray is assured. The wrong way is that of the hypocrites, the men who make a public show of their devotions that they may have the name of sanctity. Love to pray standing in the synagogues. These love not to pray, but to pray where they will be seen, and pray that they may be seen. So the Pharisees took pains to be in some public place, where they could strike an attitude of prayer in the sight of many observers. The same spirit is often seen still.