“And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. “Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.”
Jesus turned from the motive behind prayer to the proper method and substance of praying.
And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do.
The Greek word for “vain repetitions” originally meant to stammer and then came to mean to babble. The idea is to repeat the formula many times. The non-believer’s thoughtless recitation of prayer is meaningless from Jesus’ point of view.
For they think that they will be heard for their many words.
Religious non-believers think that God will hear their prayer if they repeat it enough. This is a merit approach to prayer. God stands ready to answer prayer. On that basis we do not need to extract an answer from Him.
6:8 “Therefore do not be like them.
Jesus’ implication was, “Do not be like people who think they can influence God by bombarding Him with repeated requests.” Biblical prayer is entirely different, for God willingly answers prayer.
For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.
The essence of prayer is dependence on God, which glorifies God. Although God knows our need before we ask Him, He wants us to trust Him in prayer. It is invalid to inform God of our situation, because He knows it better than we do.
Stock, repetitive prayer has no value in God’s eyes.
Some of us fall into the thinking that if we pray long, repeated prayers, then God will hear us. Stock, repetitive prayer does not impress God. God answers prayer on the basis of His grace found in Jesus. That is why we pray “in Jesus’ name.” Therefore, prayer is not conquering God’s reluctance to answer by repetition.
Prayer is not changing the will of God to conform to our will. Prayer is asking God to enter our situation within His will. God is not impressed by repeated asking. Neither does repetition force God to answer our prayers.
Persistence in prayer is biblical (Mt 7:7-8; Lu 18:1).