When you are praying, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard because of their many words” (Matthew 6:7)*_
At the time of Jesus, people had a particular way of praying similar to that of many today. They loved to heap up many empty phrases because they imagined God far away. Jesus teaches us that there is no need for this because God is so close to us that He even knows what we have in mind before we open our mouths.
In other words, there is no need to shout, no need to repeat oneself repeatedly, and no need to use meaningless words, which some people wrongly refer to as speaking in tongues.
The first thing we must do before we start praying is to place ourselves in the presence of God and realise that all our prayers are directed at God, not at those listening to us. Even if we use a microphone, we are not praying to people; we are praying to God. Yes, we may be praying for people, but it is God we are talking to.
We may bless the people, but we must be careful not to assume a position of authority over God whereby we begin to give God commands. We can make prophetic declarations when we hear from God, but we must be careful not to tell lies in God’s name. Even the prophets in the Bible did not always say things pleasing to the people’s ears; they delivered God’s words.
Jesus taught us a short prayer in our Gospel passage. This prayer does not use repeated/empty phrases. It gives God His due praise and glory. It begs from God; it does not issue commands. It is a prayer of commitment in that it asks from God and tells God what we shall give to him. When we pray it, we ask for our daily bread; we also promise to forgive those who sin against us. This is just how we are to pray.
Do not be too focused on taking from God when you pray that you forget that you are also supposed to give back to God. Prayer is a Dialogue, not a Monologue.
Let us pray: Almighty ever-living God, draw me nearer and nearer to you. Through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen
Bible Study: 2 Corinthians 11:1-11, Ps. 111:1-4,7-8, Matthew 6:7-15)*
@Rev. Fr. Evaristus E. Abu