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. Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him. — Matthew 6:7-8. NKJV
Jesus tells the multitude “don’t use vain repetitions when you pray as the heathens do.” We’ve all seen those folks who have learned a few churchy terms out of the old English that are rehearsed and spoken again as a prayer begins. Though nonsensical, that is not what Jesus refers to here. Jesus refers here to those repetitive chants spoken before idols in hopes of summoning a power to respond. Jesus is separating Himself from that form of worship.
These idol worshippers think their carvings and figures will suddenly hear them through their many repetitious words. Jesus tells the multitude and us, our Father in heaven already knows our need before we ask. Our God waits for us to ask with the correct protocol with our answer in hand.
Today we don’t have carvings in our home we bow to, but how many of us have a lucky shirt we wear for every game? Does the god of sports honor your shirt wearing, body painting, tailgating discipline? How many outcomes do we try to manifest by our will and thoughtful meditation? Is it working? Does reciting self-help language in your head bring lasting peace, joy or affirmation? What God/god answers?
The god of this world is deceptive. The god of our mind is unreliable and sick. The god of sports and entertainment really doesn’t give 2 squats for your wellbeing and future hope. The Lord our God doesn’t have to be awakened or summoned out of stone, wood, or a disturbed mental state. He already knows our request. He knew us from before the foundation of the world. He waits for us to come into agreement with His Spirit so that our oneness is restored. Our God is a friend, closer than a brother, who seeks not to harm us but to prosper us. Our God will never leave or forsake us. How many sports fans have felt forsaken by the god of their team?
I submit to you the charge from Joshua 24 “choose you this day whom you will serve”. Move forward men, with prayer that works to a God who hears.