Monday, November 25, 2013
“But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him” (Matthew 6:7,8 KJV).
Eliminating the static due to religious tradition, we present to you “the official prayer of Christendom” with unparalleled clarity….
The immediate context of today’s Scripture is Jesus Christ instructing His believing remnant in Israel how to pray (the “Our Father” Prayer immediately follows today’s Scripture). The broader context is His famous “Sermon on the Mount” (Matthew chapters 5-7), a summary of God’s earthly kingdom program for Israel. While often ignored, today’s Scripture is necessary to appreciate the overall purpose of the “Our Father” Prayer.
Throughout the Bible, prayer is simply a saint (believer) speaking to God in light of God’s Word to him or her. Jesus Christ knew His disciples needed a model prayer, a way to remind themselves of that kingdom doctrine He was teaching them within the wider context. Before Jesus gave them that model prayer, He gave two rules.
Firstly, Jesus said they were not to pray like the hypocrites (such as the Pharisees), who prayed publicly merely to be seen of others: believing Israel was to pray privately in prayer closets (Matthew 6:5,6).
Secondly, Jesus told them not to pray like the heathen: “But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking” (today’s Scripture). These Gentiles, Jesus said, talked much in prayer because they were trying to get their god’s attention. The pagans mindlessly repeated the same empty words, hoping “their much speaking” in prayer would result in a “divine” response (remember, they were certainly not praying to Israel’s God, the God of Scripture).
Today’s Scripture was Jesus Christ’s way of comforting believing Israel. He explained to them that they did not have to waste their time in mindless, repetitious prayer to get JEHOVAH’S attention. JEHOVAH was fully aware of their needs, so “vain repetitions” were unnecessary. They simply needed to remember His Word to them….