TEXT: Matthew 6:5-8
5 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.
6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
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.
8 Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.
Jesus’ command to avoid vain repetition when doing the good work of prayer is an important reminder for us today. However, we must be on guard against carrying this command to an extreme. There is nothing wrong with a long prayer. There are some beautiful long prayers in the Bible. Solomon prayed a long public prayer at the dedication of the Temple. Nehemiah and Daniel also have notable, long prayers recorded in the Bible. And all of their prayers were heard by God. So, if you have a lot to pray about, by all means, pray about those things. Just make sure that you are praying sincerely and not engaging in mindless repetition.
Additionally, by this command, Jesus does not intend to discourage perseverance in prayer. That is, praying repeatedly about the same thing at different times until an answer is received. If you are praying for something that is in the will of God, there is nothing wrong with praying about it every day until you receive an answer from Him. Jesus Himself gave us two examples of this kind of persistence in prayer — one, with the widow who kept going to the unjust judge until she received justice in her case; and another, with the man who went to his neighbor’s house even though it was midnight to ask for what he needed.
In telling us not to use “vain repetitions” in our prayers, Jesus’ target is not prayer length or prayer frequency, but prayer motive. Prayer is not a matter of repetition but relationship. Constant repetition in prayer does not change God’s will one way or the other. We cannot manipulate Him like that. When we pray, God looks at our hearts just as much as He listens to our words. Perhaps, even more so. So, when you pray be concerned more about what your heart is saying than you are about the words being said. God understands “groanings which cannot be uttered.”
When Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, He emphasized two sentences again and again — “Lord, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” It was the same or similar words repeated, however, there was more to Jesus’ prayer than just His words. There was the heaviness of His heart and spirit, the mental anguish over what He was about to do, the distress of soul so much so that He sweat great drops of blood. Jesus’ prayer came out of the heart of One who was utterly dependent on the Heavenly Father — not to be seen, not to be praised of men, not to force God’s hand or change God’s will — but to be heard in Heaven.
What do you intend for your prayers to accomplish? Do you want to be heard in Heaven? Do you want answers from God? Then pray sincerely without vain repetition so God can hear and answer your prayers.
John Newton write:
Our Lord, who knows full well
The heart of every saint;
Invites us, by a parable,
To pray and never faint.
He bows His gracious ear,
We never plead in vain;
Yet we must wait, till He appear,
And pray, and pray again.
So let us earnest be,
And never faint in prayer;
He loves our importunity,
And makes our cause His care.
Now, if you are with us today and you do not know Jesus Christ as your Savior, allow me to show you how you can place your faith and trust in Him for Salvation from sin and Hell.
First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”
Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Now that is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.
Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the Cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your Salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. I am sorry for my sins, and today I choose to turn from my sins. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. I trust Jesus Christ as my Savior and I choose to follow Him as Lord from this day forward. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you believed in your heart that Jesus Christ died on the Cross, was buried, and rose again, allow me to say, congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour! For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
If you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior today, please email me at [email protected] and let us know. There is some free material that we want to send you. If you have a prayer request, please e-mail that to us as well, and we will pray for you until you tell us to stop.
God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.
Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty books including the Essence Magazine, Dallas Morning News, and Amazon.com national bestseller, Letters to Young Black Men. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry.
He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts/podcasts, which include: The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update and the Soul-Winning Motivator, among others.
He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty University’s Rawlings School of Divinity (formerly Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary). He is currently a candidate for the Doctor of Ministry degree.
He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica since 1987. God has blessed their union with seven children.