Where do we draw the line between praying without ceasing and praying without using vain repetitions?

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By BibleAsk Team


Praying Without Ceasing

The apostle Paul wrote, “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Prayer links us with the Creator, and teaches us to see life with heavenly prospective. And as we abide in God, He grants us our petitions. He promised, “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you” (John 15:7).

Jesus gave us the parable of the widow that persisted in her requests to teach us to always pray and not faint (Luke 18:1-8). Jesus Himself prayed for long periods of time often through the night. “And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God” (Luke 6:12). If the Lord Himself spent much time in prayer, humans, likewise, need to continue in prayer to be able to overcome the temptations of the world (Matthew 26:41).

The disciples also followed Jesus example. 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 was always maintained. So, it should be with us.

Praying in Vain Repetitions

Jesus said, “And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words” (Matthew 6:7).

The Greek word for “vain repetitions” means “to babble,“ “to rattle off,” “to say the same thing over and over again,” and “to speak without giving thought to what is spoken.” Pagans often use repetitions in their prayers to attain holiness. Tibetans use their prayer wheels which is countless repetitions without thought or effort on the part of the worshiper.

Unfortunately, in the Christian circles too, certain churches teach that repetitions in prayer can correct the wrongs of people and bring desired spiritual blessings. One example is praying the Rosary in the Catholic Faith.

The purpose of praying is not to let God know of what we need but to connect ourselves to Him in a moment by moment reliance on Him. Once we maintain this connection with Him, the Lord blesses our lives with answered prayers according to His good will.

Check out our Bible Answers page for more information on a variety of topics.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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