Wednesday, February 15, 2012 (All day)
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[Darris McNeely] Is it the amount of words that we pray or is it the quality of the words that we pray? We're going through a series on prayer here on BT Dailies . We're going through Christ's instructions to pray to His disciples in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew chapter 6. And we've come to the point where Christ warned them against vain repetitions and just babbling on incessantly with words that had no meaning.
[Steve Myers] Christ actually gave a lot of instruction on how to pray. It must've been at the forefront of the disciples' mind at least at one point where they asked Him, "How should we pray?" and He went through quite a bit of instruction about how to pray. And when you get to Matthew 6:7, here's what He told them. He said, "When you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think they will be heard for their many words." So He gets pretty specific there that it really does come down to what we say and not how long we have to say it.
[Darris McNeely] I think Christ is really saying, put your heart into the prayer. To do so means we have to think about it. It's not just a matter of giving a prescribed prayer that has been written out by someone else or going through a repetitive exercise of prayer, which some faiths have with beads or with prayer wheels that just, you know, send off prayers out of a memorized un-heartfelt position. That's not what He was talking about. He says it's not the many words really when it comes down to it; it's the heart and the value that we put into those words that we are understanding.
[Steve Myers] Saying the same things over and over without any thinking behind it is not helpful. It's not helpful at all. In fact, that word for repetitions is only used right there in the New Testament. That's the only time the word is used and it really gets down to saying the same things, babbling on without really having your mind engaged. And so God wants a relationship with us. He doesn't want to just hear empty words.
[Darris McNeely] You can imagine some of Christ's hearers probably thinking about the story from the Old Testament of Elijah confronting the prophets of Baal, where they just went on and on and on with many, many words for hours on end in their prayers to Baal. And Elijah said, "Look, it's not doing you any good." And in a very brief prayer he brought down fire from heaven to not only consume the offering, but the priests themselves (1 Kings 18:25-40). I can well imagine the disciples thinking about that and realizing that it's the quality, not the quantity.
[Steve Myers] And so be specific with your prayers, not just vain repetitions, useless words that go on and on. Make contact with your heavenly Father and draw close to Him.
[Darris McNeely] Put your heart into it.