“And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him” (Matthew 6:7).
My son, 11, can say the same five words repeatedly for hours–literally, if he wants something. I can try to converse and ignore it for awhile, but eventually I blow. Ironically, I usually know what he is going to ask from the beginning. His babbling is not about conveying a desire, but to wear me down and hear himself talk.
What are your prayer requests like? We are told to prayer continually–but this means conversing with God–not trying to wear Him down. I’ve known people who pray for healing for years, yet their prayers have gone from asking for God’s mercy to a habit of babbling. Their relationship with the Lord has become empty.
God knows our requests before they are spoken. Prayer is not necessary for God to hear us, but rather it is a gift given to us so we commune one-on-one with the Holy Father. We need prayer, which includes the act of surrender and praise.
Unanswered prayers are not unheard prayers. Since God knows our prayers before we speak them, it is impossible for them to be unheard. Yet we can believe that if we are more efficient in our request, He will hear us. So why not repeat it again and again until we get what we want?
This is what we are being warned of–babbling. The Greek word is “battalogesete” and means to stammer. Other translations say to avoid “heaping up phrases” (Amplified), “rattling off long prayers” (Philips), and “vain repetitions” (KJV).
I like how The Message summarizes this scripture:
The world is full of so-called prayer warriors who are prayer-ignorant. They’re full of formulas and programs and advice, peddling techniques for getting what you want from God. Don’t fall for that nonsense. This is your Father you are dealing with, and He knows better than you what you need” (Matthew 6:7,8).
Prayer: Father, I want to talk with You–not just talk to You. I long to hear Your voice in my life. Hearing my own voice repeat what I want or need over and over will not draw us closer, but only give me a false sense of conveying my desire to You. Teach me how to pray so that it brings me closer to You. Hearing my own voice babble will not fulfill the intimacy with You that I seek. Amen.
About the author:
Lisa Copen is the founder of Rest Ministries and she lives in San Diego with her husband and son. She is excited that she has finished her prayer book for those who are chronically ill and it will be available in just weeks. Be encouraged by one of her books today! 100% proceeds go to Rest Ministries. Check out Why Can’t I Make People Understand? before the family holiday get togethers in the Rest Ministries shop.
Do you ever find yourself babbling to God? He wants us to pour out our heart to Him, but we must also be aware of saying the same words over and over can be a form of laziness. How can you use the Word to change your prayer from babbles to communion with Him?
I loved the lyrics of this song and how we often don’t know what to pray. we can raise our hands though–even in the middle of the chaos and the floods in our life. Enjoy this touching song, “All I Need” but the Rhett Walker Band. – Lisa