Matthew 6:7 “But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.”
We must remember that the instruction here is given to the disciples. Jesus warns them not to repeat words over and over again in their prayers.
Jesus mentions that the heathen pray with vain repetition for the purpose of being heard. There is no substance at all in repeating words with the motive that such prayers will gain God’s attention.
Some styles of Christian music have this same concept; they repeat seven words eleven times. Sometimes it is three words fifteen times; this is vain worship. Sadly people think they will be heard because it may sound good or it is repeated over and over again.
Praying to God must be purposeful. Keep in mind that we have a living God that is in Heaven, and that is able to hear our plea the first time we call upon Him.
Psalm 115:1-8 “Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth's sake. Vs 2 Wherefore should the heathen say, Where is now their God? Vs 3 But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased. Vs 4 Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men's hands. Vs 5 They have mouths, but they speak not: eyes have they, but they see not: vs 6 They have ears, but they hear not: noses have they, but they smell not: vs 7 They have hands, but they handle not: feet have they, but they walk not: neither speak they through their throat. Vs 8 They that make them are like unto them; so is every one that trusteth in them.”
God wants His people to pray with purpose mixed with faith. Notice Elijah’s prayer.
We must take note that Elijah’s prayer was for the purpose of calling out to God to hear him and rain down fire to consume the sacrifice. The answer to Elijah’s prayer would prove that his God would be the only true living God, as the people were halted between two opinions. (1 King 18:21)
1 Kings 18:36-37 “And it came to pass at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near, and said, LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy word. Vs 37 Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the LORD God, and that thou hast turned their heart back again.”
Elijah’s prayer was not repeated over and over again. In verse 37, Elijah calls to God to hear him twice, (“Hear me, O LORD, hear me…) but the heathen were calling to their false god to hear them all day and night.
Elijah was obviously communicating with the Living God, and was not speaking words into the air and hoping for the best because of his repetition.
We have a living God who is able to hear our prayers. Be sure to be purposeful in your prayers.