Why Matthew 6:7 instructs not to repeat prayer, but Luke 18:7 stresses that?

Author: BibleAsk Team


There is a difference between Matthew 6:7 and Luke 18:7 regarding prayer. Let’s examine these verses closely:

Matthew 6:7

Jesus taught, “when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.” In this verse, the phrase “vain repetitions” (Greek battologeō) means: “to speak stammeringly,” “to say the same thing over and over again,” “to babble,” “to rattle off,” or “to speak without giving thought to what is spoken.” Jesus was here speaking against the repetition of vain words in prayer.

The heathens practice such forms of prayer. We see this, in the Old Testament, when Elijah challenged Israel at Mount Carmel to call on their heathen god to bless the land with rain and end the drought. So, they “called on the name of Baal from morning even till noon” (1 Kings 18:26).

And in the New Testament, we also read how the heathen Ephesians “cried out for about two hours, “Great is Diana of the Ephesians” after Paul preached to them (Acts 19:34). Today, for example, Tibetans say their prayer wheels and repeat the same prayer thousands of times with no thought from them.

The truth is that Prayer does not let God know what He does not know, nor does it convince Him to do what He doesn’t want to do. the purpose of Prayer is to connect humans with their Creator and help them to cooperate with His good plans for them.

Luke 18:7

Jesus gave the parable of the persistent widow to show the necessity of continuing in prayer and He ended the passage with the words: “And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?” Here, the Master is speaking about the necessity of perseverance in prayer.

The lesson of the parable is built on the great contrast between the character of the unjust judge and a just heavenly Father. If the judge, for selfish reasons, would finally answer the widow’s plea, how much more will the Lord answer those who pray for Him. If persistence with an unjust judge brings good outcome, without a doubt persistence with the Lord will be greatly rewarded.

The Importance of Fervent Prayer Life

The Bible teaches the importance of a serious prayer life, “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:16). Also, Paul encourages the believers to “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). The connection with Heaven should not be broken (Luke 18:1). Paul labored “night and day” (1 Thessalonians 2:9); he also prayed “night and day” (1 Thessalonians 3:10). Active connection with his heavenly Father, through prayer, brought the apostle spiritual victories.

Jesus is our example in having a fervent prayer life. At the beginning of His ministry, He fasted forty days and prayed most earnestly to be able to resist the temptations of the devil (Luke 4). Prayer also signified the opening of His Galilean mission (Mark 1:35). And during His ministry, He continued His prayer life (Luke 6:12; Matthew 14:22, 23; John 6:15, 66). Also, at the Transfiguration, prayer is mentioned when Jesus shared with the 3 disciples about His sufferings and death (Luke 9:28–31).

The longest recorded prayer of Jesus was before His going to the Garden of Gethsemane (John 17). And just hours before His death, Jesus offered His most agonizing prayer (Matthew 26:36–44) where “his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (Luke 22:44). If Jesus prayed so earnestly, how much more should we as Christians persevere in prayer?

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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