Matthew 6:7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.
Now that we have looked at the things that impede our prayer life let’s start on the parable itself. We will begin as Jesus did, with the meaning.
Remember as we begin that Jesus is talking to His disciples. This is a lesson for those who belong to God and not for just anyone. We know from various places in Scripture that God doesn’t listen to the prayers of the unrighteous unless they are prayers of repentance (Proverbs 15:8 & 29, Proverbs 28:9, Isaiah 59:2 as well as others). Jesus was specifically telling them that they should pray and not give up. But what does that look like?
As we see in our key verse today, Jesus wasn’t encouraging them just to pray repetitiously. Saying the same thing over and over about random things is not what Jesus was encouraging. It is easy to just keep repeating what we want every time we pray. It isn’t that He doesn’t want to hear what is on our heart. He wants us to tell Him what is going on in our lives but He wants us to be sincere about it. When we babble on and on using the same words each and every time we pray, we show a lack of sincerity.
As Jesus says in our verse today, the pagans had ritual prayers that would ramble on and on because they thought the more they said the more their gods would listen and heed their wishes. They thought they could control the gods by convincing them to do what they wanted. Jesus needed His disciples, and us, to know that isn’t what persistent prayer is about. It isn’t about changing God’s mind.
When we pray persistently about something we need to understand it isn’t like begging mom or dad for something. God is not our jolly elf or grandfather figure looking to give us anything we ask for. Praying persistently isn’t about God giving us what we want but asking Him for what He wants. He wants us to want what He wants for us. He knows what is best for us and has our best interest in store for us. He wants us to ask Him for and be persistently seeking His will.
Making It Personal
What is something that you have prayed for multiple times? What has caused you to pray more than once about it? What is the motive in praying for it?
Making It Personal Kids
What kind of things do you ask Jesus for? Do you think He wants you to have those things? If not, what could He want you to have instead?
Father, help us to know what You want us to pray for. Teach us to seek Your desires over our own. In Jesus’ name, amen.