In prayer the pagans often used some form of repetitions to get their gods to listen to them. Their thinking was that if the one praying continues to pile up the words, the god will in the end grant the request just to get rid of the one praying. This could be the case of the Prophets of Baal shouting ‘O Baal answer us’ (1 Kings 18:26, 29).
In Matthew 6: 7-14, we are told that Jesus is not against us presenting the same requests over and over again, what he is against is repeating words like a magic incantation; he is against repeating words without a sincere heart. We must mean what we say, we must reflect reverently on the words we use in prayer.
7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
9 “This, then, is how you should pray:
“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.’
14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. Matthew 6:7-14 (New International Version – NIV)
The ‘Our Father’ is the model of all prayer. In it we give due honor and praise to God; we acknowledge that God sustains us body and soul by asking for daily bread; we ask God to strengthen us by not falling into temptation; and we also ask God for forgiveness. The ‘Our Father’ must be our daily prayer. And as we pray it, let us seek to forgive others as we ask forgiveness from the Lord also.
Peace and Joy
Written by Rev. Fr. Courage Dogbey
- Reflect on the words you use in prayer.
- Mean what you say, let it be from your heart.
- Be sincere and always pray.
- Pray for one another