When you pray, don’t babble like the idolaters, since they imagine they’ll be heard for their many words. Don’t be like them, because your Father knows the things you need before you ask Him.
Matthew 6:7‭-‬8 HCSB

A long time ago, God came down to see what men were up to. He saw that they were building a tower, that by some pretension was designed to reach the heavens. God disagreed. He said that men working together could achieve nearly anything,but instead of destroying the tower, destroyed their unity by confounding their languages. And from this event, we get the word “Babylon”. Their languages were confused and to each to the other it sounded like babbling. 

Several thousand years later, Jesus makes this comment to His disciples. “When you pray, don’t babble . . .”. Now wait a minute. Why does it sound like babbling on the first place? Didn’t God make us babble from the beginning? Something is not right here. Does this mean that God demands a special prayer language when we pray? 

Actually, no, because while Jesus is using the same sounding term in English, the term babble has come to us with different meanings attached. Primary is the babbling we hear when we don’t understand a language. It sounds like meaningless chatter. But a secondary meaning has come to us, and that is an understandable language, but with no meaning. Kind of like political speech, where someone keeps talking and talking, but doesn’t say anything. It’s just noise. That’s the babbling Jesus is speaking of here. 

So the warning here is to avoid long, meaningless prayers when a few words will get your point across. Get to the point in prayer. Don’t worry about flowery speech and the “right” words. Say what you need to say. That’s what God wants to hear. 

How is your prayer life doing? Are you saying what you need to say? Whether your prayers are answered or not, God does listen. He knows your heart and He knows your needs. He is already working and effecting change in your life, preparing your for your next step, whatever that may be. 

My prayer for you today is that your relationship with God is strengthened. May God bless you this day with purpose and direction, and the wisdom that goes along with it. 

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I've been in ministry in the Christian Churches/ Churches of Christ for 20+ years. Finished my doctorate in Biblical Studies in 2015. Serve today as a Hospital Chaplain.

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