S.O.A.P. Devotion 2017-09-30
“And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” Matthew 6:7-8 ESV
“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
The overly religious like the Pharisees and those who worshipped false gods were required to repeat phrases or incantations over and over. It was, and is, often done in these situations more for show than honest prayer. The Lord is not trying to fix the length of our prayers as much as He is saying that we should not repeat the same thing over and over again as though God did not hear you the first time. Or worse yet, to repeat things for show. However if you read His prayers, they were usually short and to the point. Prayer is not as much to inform God, since He already knows, as much as it is our expression of what we need in a conversation with God.
It has been said that “prayer requires more of the heart than of the tongue.” The tongue should merely express what the heart feels and not put on a show for God or man. These instructions compare to the same way we teach our children to ask for what they want even when we already know what they need. We want them to use their words, but not to just stand there and say “Daddy” over and over or to just keep repeating they want something. We should tell Him what we need and have a conversation about it. In addition, public prayers should be prayers and not sermons.
Lord, keep me humble and focused in my prayer time. Even when I pray in a public place, let my heart be lined up in a conversation with you. Don’t let me get swept up into the frenzy when groups are praying together in a repetitive manner, but rather let me stay focused on a conversation with you.
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