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Matthew 6:7, repetitive prayer

Discussion in 'Christianity DIR' started by lioncub1503, Oct 22, 2018.

  1. lioncub1503

    lioncub1503 Seven ate nine

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    “When praying, do not say the same things over and over again as the people of the nations do, for they imagine they will get a hearing for their use of many words.” - Matthew 6:7

    So this verse supposedly shows that God will not take note of those people that use the same prayers over and over. However, isn’t this what Christians do? They repeat the same things over and over, which would then make them ‘of the nations’, or part of the world, which is separated from true Christianity. For what reason do Christians use set prayers (such as the Lord’s Prayer or Hail Mary, or even making their own one up but repeating it) if Jesus here seemingly told them not to, and how would you interpret this verse?

    Thanks
     
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  2. Windwalker

    Windwalker Integralist
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    "Supposedly" is the operative word there. It is "assumed". But does it actually have anything to do with reciting prayers, such as the Lord's Prayer? Hardly. That is an interpretation of it that Martin Luther used to attack the Catholic Church with, but there are a lot of verses people read into it what suits their agendas. That does not make that understanding accurate, just convenient. Sort of like how various groups read the book of Revelation in ways that suit their own theologies to set themselves apart from other Christians. It's a sad thing.

    God accepts the prayers of any sincere heart, no matter what words they say, or how they choose to say them. To assume God doesn't answer because you "didn't do it right", is viewing God like a gumball machine that only works with the right combination of coins - which every little cult out there claims they have. :) God knows the heart, and doesn't care what you dress it up with. So, drop the legalism.
     
  3. metis

    metis aged ecumenical anthropologist

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    The Rosary is used as a "mantra", thus while one is mouthing or thinking it, one's concentration is on one aspect of it or on something else altogether.

    To put it another way, it's not an end unto itself but a means to an end, namely meditation and contemplation.
     
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  4. Windwalker

    Windwalker Integralist
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    Meditation is exactly correct. Reciting a mantra gives the brain something else to do while you are engaged in contemplating the Divine. Music can do this. Incense can do this. Listening to the wind blowing outdoors in a park as you lay on the grass considering the Divine, does this too. It's all prayer. It's all meditation.

    But, the God of Legalism won't accept any of that! You have to do it "just right" in order for God to work correctly for you. "I hear your prayers, but they weren't done right, so to hell with you..." :)
     
  5. David1967

    David1967 Well-Known Member
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    I certainly don't pray to Mary. Can't find any scripture that says that is OK. But I do tend to pray for the same general things, as my simple needs don't change much. Mostly I pray for family and friends, especially my kids.
     
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  6. lioncub1503

    lioncub1503 Seven ate nine

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    I am unsure on how this answers my question. So far, you have said that I am wrong, but failed to explain why I am wrong or why you are right. Could you please tell me this? Thank you ;)

    Ah ok, I see now why some people do this. So it is more about thinking and meditating about God in apposed to what the words are actually saying. Do you also have other prayers where you talk from the heart to thank and ask God for things, or I see this included in the set prayers?

    Yes, I don’t see any scripture either, so again I’m not quite sure why they do it when it is to God alone we must worship. However, everyone has their own ways I guess.
    Well, I suppose I pray for the same general things, but change it as well. So some things are always similar because I always need it/am grateful, but the rest of the time I try my best to talk as to a friend. God wants us to be his friend for he loves us.
     
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  7. Windwalker

    Windwalker Integralist
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    Everything was explained perfectly clear the first time in that post. I explained the basis of your error. You need to read it more closely again, if you care to know, and then ask what you still don't understand. I'm happy to go into great detail with you, if you are open to that.
     
  8. metis

    metis aged ecumenical anthropologist

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    The mass includes both set prayers, some of which change weekly, and also time for personal prayer. Also, we are obviously strongly encouraged to pray on our own time, such as when we get up, go to bed, at meals, plus whenever we feel that we should.
     
  9. lioncub1503

    lioncub1503 Seven ate nine

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    I am happy for you to do this, if that is what you wish.

    You are saying that you think God accepts all prayers, but do not have any evidence for this. Can you please give me a scripture that supports this idea? Infact, Jesus often mentions specific requirements, such as this scripture but also things that God will only answer prayers if they are in line with his will. If his will is for humans to talk to him as a friend from the heart in order for their faith to be strengthened rather than repeating the same words over and over, then if you disobey this then you are no longer doing his will. He wants us to be his best friend, and think about it. How do you talk to a very close friend?

    God certainly didn’t accept worship through idols, even if it was directed at him, and Jesus also identifies true Christians and false Christians, along with false religion, showing that there is a correct way to worship him, and an incorrect way, and he won’t just accept anything. Surely worship includes prayer?


    Ah ok thanks
     
    #9 lioncub1503, Oct 23, 2018
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  10. Windwalker

    Windwalker Integralist
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    I am not saying that. What I did say was, "God accepts the prayers of any sincere heart". Do you believe God would take the sincerity of a soul seeking him and tell them, "Sorry, you weren't praying like I told you, buddy." That's not God. God is Love. If anyone comes to God with a true heart, God hears. God accepts love and truth from the human soul, no matter what organization they join because they think it will help them be accepted by God.

    Here's one:

    Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!​

    Well now, I never said "answers" in the way someone is asking! :) Of course not. I said God accepts them. You don't have to be "right" with God. In fact, that gets in the way of it! To know God truthfully, is to honest that you don't know anything. Claiming you have the secret formula to activate God, is anything but humbling yourself before God.

    Do you tell your friends the way you want them to talk to you, or do you just let them come to you as they are, and accept them as they are, and are friends with them because you love them flaws and all? Is your love conditional? God's isn't. God is Love.

    I think you misread what Jesus was saying. True religion is of the heart, not some better more correct legal system. There is false religion, yes. It's religion that has excluded the unconditional Love of God from their own hearts, manifest in their condemnation of others who don't practice religion the way they think you should practice it, like them.

    Putting beliefs and conditions in front of God, puts themselves in front of God, blocking access to God with their bodies. That's false religion. Its name is legalism. That's what Jesus came to save us from.
     
    #10 Windwalker, Oct 23, 2018
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  11. Deeje

    Deeje Avid Bible Student
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    Good topic @lioncub1503
    Here are Paul's word to the Ephesians....prayer is part of our spiritual armor.

    "Stand firm, therefore, with the belt of truth fastened around your waist, wearing the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having your feet shod in readiness to declare the good news of peace. 16 Besides all of this, take up the large shield of faith, with which you will be able to extinguish all the wicked one’s burning arrows. 17 Also, accept the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the spirit, that is, God’s word, 18 while with every form of prayer and supplication you carry on prayer on every occasion in spirit. And to that end stay awake, constantly making supplication in behalf of all the holy ones. 19 Pray also for me, that the words may be given to me when I open my mouth, so that I may be able to speak boldly in making known the sacred secret of the good news..." (Ephesians 6:14-19)

    So prayer is just part of our armor. We have to put on the whole suit.

    So, when Paul says "every form of prayer and supplication", what did he mean?

    How many kinds of prayer are there? If we are in tune with God and have a direct line of communication with him (as we should have) then prayers will not become a repetitive and sometimes meaningless repetition of the same words (even though the subject matter might be the same). If we talk to God as a friend, it will need no external prompting. How long would a friendship last if we just kept saying the same things over and over as the only conversation we ever had.....? :shrug:

    "Mantras" are something we associate with eastern religions, not with Christianity. Recitations of long winded mantras is not communication with the God of Jesus, who is interested in what is in our heart, not just in our head. Chanting, prayer wheels and words by rote, portray prayer as something perfunctory, as if all God wants is "performance" without any real engagement of heart and mind.

    Looking at Jesus' model prayer, we get the gist of what to pray for, and what order of importance they should take....God's name and his Kingdom being foremost....his will being done...and then our personal needs in the form of petitions.

    In Paul's words we see all occasions as a subject for prayer...meaning that whatever we undertake in life, we should have God's will foremost in our minds. He also said in Philippians 4:6..."Do not be anxious over anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication along with thanksgiving, let your petitions be made known to God".

    So we have prayer, supplication, thanksgiving and petitions.

    Think of all the things we have to make decisions about....and how those decisions will affect our family, our future, and most importantly, our worship. Prayer for guidance is needed. Then we need to act in harmony with our prayers, implementing Bible principles.

    Supplication is a pleading when we find ourselves in stressful circumstances, so that we may not be overcome....to ask for God's help in showing us the right way to handle things....and we can also pray for the "Holy Ones", God's chosen ones, (whether we know them personally or not) so that these may be guided by him whilst still in their imperfect flesh. Praying also for individuals that we know by name so that their preaching may be persuasive and will show people that true Christianity is a strong unified faith, not a weak watered-down version that does not resemble the original.

    So in the broad view we see that prayer should never be repetitious or meaningless. It should be a free, but respectful conversation with a God whom we recognize as a Father and friend, but most of all, one whom God recognizes as his child. He would not hear us if we were praying to another God....or if our prayers were meaningless or entirely selfish. Nor would he hear us if we had blood on our hands. (Isaiah 1:15) Even if we are not the ones shedding blood ourselves...are we supporting those who do so politically?

    We need to remind ourselves of the need to give thanks...often. It is so easy to get bogged down with what is wrong in our lives, to remember what things we need to be grateful for. There are usually more than we think.

    We can pray for ourselves, family members, the wider circle of our Christian brotherhood, for favorable circumstances in our Christian activities and for the wisdom and courage to preach about God's Kingdom to a largely unreceptive audience. (John 15:18-21)
    When someone comes along and the message of the Kingdom resonates with them, what a joy it is to help them on the road to life....another one to include in our prayers. :)
     
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  12. metis

    metis aged ecumenical anthropologist

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    I can't speak for God.

    When the prophets and Jesus went into the wilderness, sometimes for days on end, what do you think they did?

    The unfortunate reality is that all too many in the history of Christianity lost sight of an ancient form of prayer, namely meditation and contemplation, as that's not just found within the eastern religions. With this form there's less talking and more listening, and if you haven't been doing it let me recommend that you start. Even during mass I use this technique at certain intervals, especially as I try to take what I'm listening to and figuring out how to apply it to my daily life. In the monastic orders of the Church, this technique is very heavily used, plus Catholic silent retreats use this. Ever been on one? I love 'em.

    I'm so used to using this technique that when I go to Protestant services whereas everything is said or sung, I can't get into them. Speaking of which, songs in church are repetitive prayers, so do you sing them?
     
  13. Windwalker

    Windwalker Integralist
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    I'm glad you mentioned that. I was thinking to bring that up this morning. Songs are in fact "repetitive prayers". The human mind needs repetitions to help it to relax, like the rocking of a baby in its parent's arms.

    DeeJay mentioned that mantras are cognitive, which is a false claim:
    This is a flatly wrong understanding of what chanting mantras are. They are meant to relax the thinking mind, to get into what is in the heart instead of what is in the head. They are the exact opposite of this incorrect understanding of them. Moreover, they can be quite short, not long, such as "Om Shanti Om", or "Om Mani Padme Hum", repeated over and over, like a song, "I love you Lord, yes I love you Lord, "repeat chorus, repeat chorus, repeat chorus. No difference. They both engage the heart, by gently quieting the mind. The exact opposite of this claim they are about the head, not the heart.

    What eventually happens with the mantra, is that it falls away as the mind falls into silence, and the heart takes fully over. Soon, there are no words at all, only the Awareness of Love in the Presence of God, directly through the heart.

    It is legalism, that is the opposite of the heart. It is legalism that is the head thinking its way to find the "right formulas" to activate God. Legalism is what is all head, with no heart. It is false religion, wherever it exists in whatever form it takes. "By their fruit you shall know them," not by their "correct doctrines", not by their "right beliefs", not by their "standards" you must meet in order to be accepted by God. It is this type of religion that Jesus sought to enlighten other to reject as false, as it blocks the way to a true knowledge of God with the heart. Legalism, is a religion of the ego, which places itself as the path of salvation as a substitute to surrender.
     
    #13 Windwalker, Oct 24, 2018
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  14. metis

    metis aged ecumenical anthropologist

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    Kudos to the above.

    Also, what is it if one is praying out loud in church, what they say is not necessarily in the minds of others there at the same service. Therefore, is group prayer Biblical? Of course it is, and yet it's not from anyone in the congregation other than who's saying it.

    What may make a prayer meaningless is how we may say it but then just ignore what it's saying. If I'm just going through the motions, which I can actually do myself with my own prayers as I've had to stop myself at times and had to pray it again because I felt I was being rote.

    And I think it's this "rote praying", minus any serious concentration or intent, that Jesus condemns, much like he and some of the prophets taught against sacrifices that involved just going through the motions. This could also even be a problem with the Lord's Prayer if I or we just say it without contemplating what's actually being said.

    So, imo, it's not so much the prayer but more how we deal with it, or not deal with it.
     
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  15. Windwalker

    Windwalker Integralist
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    Absolutely. It is not the "how", but the intent of however you feel to do it. God cares about the sincerity and truth of the intentions of your heart, not "proper form". "Proper form" is legalism. It assumes God's Grace has to won through approval of our performances of the ritual. Such is a substitute for, and a refusal of Grace, which is unearned.
     
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  16. Deeje

    Deeje Avid Bible Student
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    Spiritual songs have strong scriptural backing. The Psalms are songs of praise to God. Jesus led his apostles in song and prayer on the night of his last Passover.

    Where will I find any Christian engaged in mantras, mentioned in scripture? Mantras are associated with worship that is not Christian. One of many 'adoptions' by the church in the early centuries. (2 Corinthians 6:14-18)

    Mantras do not have Christian origins and accomplish the exact opposite of the meditation that God's ancient servants engaged in. Emptying the mind invites new tenants. Jesus gave an interesting take on that scenario. (Matthew 12:43-45)

    The scripture used in the OP says exactly the opposite Windwalker. There was to be no repetition of prayers. The 'use of many words' said mindlessly is not what was recommended by God's son. A simple prayer asking for clarity of thought would suffice, unless you think God could not provide that?

    If you are a parent, would you like your children to address you with the same words over and over, year in year out...? Seriously. Is God intelligent? Isn't the worship Jesus promoted based on knowledge?

    Performing things by rote does not usually engage the heart. It's a performance mindlessly engaged in by those who think that is all God wants from them. It gives many people an excuse not the think too deeply about anything connected with God. I have engaged enough Catholic people in conversation over many years to confirm this fact. Engaging in rituals or chanting mantras has no scriptural precedent for Christians. If you have an example, please provide it.

    Meditation involves engaging the mind and heart, not creating a silent void where 'feelings' take over. Worship is not just about feelings. Jesus was a teacher and not once do I see him teaching his disciples about any of this......I find no scriptural precedent for anything you have mentioned here Windwalker.
     
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  17. metis

    metis aged ecumenical anthropologist

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    So, using only certain p.c. techniques is supposedly more important than what one tries to accomplish through prayer?

    John 3[16] For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

    This "Bible in a nutshell" seems to be missing saying anything about p.c. prayer techniques.
     
  18. lioncub1503

    lioncub1503 Seven ate nine

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    We believe that if someone was sincer and open from the heart, earnestly praying to God, then He would guide them into the true religion.

    How does this prove that God accepts all prayers please?

    God is not unjust, and God is Love, therefore if someone was earnestly seeking his guidance in a matter, and to give them more faith, do you now really think he will ignore them? It may take some time, but God will do what is best for us.

    However, if you are simply repeating words, you are not sincerely seeking his help, just sprouting off words mindlessly to find an ‘inner calm’, more focused on yourself and your own ‘zen’ and your perception of God rather than on other people and doing God’s will. The Bible says that God does listen to people on behalf of others, such as Moses with the Israelites, so shouldn’t you be praying for everyone on a whole and then specific people?

    Being humble before God is doing what the scriptures say, not practising something which the bible does not tell you to do, even condemns, and is completely man-made. Do you think that is humbling yourself before God?

    Like Deeje said, how long would the friendship last if you just kept repeating the exact same words? That is why we wouldn’t do repeating prayers, because God wants to be our friend, and we can’t if we just reapeat the same things over and over, which could also endanger our faith.

    Also, we must also have standards for our friends like God has standards for who his friends are. If a friend started swearing, then I would ask them to stop, since it is against Christian conduct. Who your friends are rub off on you, and as the bible says that bad associations spoil useful habits, you should choose your friends carefully.

    So do you believe that Islam is also correct because they believe in God? Therefore, do you also believe Satanism is correct because they believe in God? If so, do you approve of their practises? And, could a lot of Christians also not be in the ‘true religion’ as they might not be worshiping God from the heart?

    Just a curious question here, if you believe it is about worshiping God from the heart, do you think that us (as Jehovah’s Wittnesses) will be saved or are we worshiping in the incorrect way?
     
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  19. Windwalker

    Windwalker Integralist
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    Do you believe that means that if they don't become a JW, that then therefore means they are not sincere?

    What Jesus was saying there is God refuses no one who asks sincerely. But to prove the truth of God, requires personal experience.

    While they may be asking for God to give them that, God is actually waiting for them to accept it. Often times people may ask for something they feel they lack, but in reality they are not actually really ready to accept it. Simply saying you want something, and doing what it takes for that to happen don't always follow suit.

    You have a great deal of misunderstandings you are expressing here, which I know you have learned from others. It's all errant what you just said, and I trust you would want to know the actual truth?

    I've heard all that before myself when I was part of a fundamentalist group, sort of akin to the JWs inasmuch as they too thought they alone had the truth and the corner market authority to speak about what and who God was, the right interpretations of the Bible, and so forth. I'm sympathetic, in other words. Here now is the actual reality regard the above. Please bear with me, but I want to be as informative for you as possible.

    First, there is a reason why people pray in a chant form, repeating the same phrase over and over, which is what a mantra is all about. Chants have an effect on the nature of the praying itself, making one more open to the spiritual through the act of willful intention to touch the Divine. It is a form of focused meditation. That is what all prayer is. Everywhere. Focused meditation on God through the intention of the words.

    That is not at all being insincere, it's quite the opposite. It's devotion. It's intention. It's focus. It's disciple.

    That is the first point, and that alone should show you what you have been told, is a gross misunderstanding of this. Second point.

    The inward path, results in doing God's will. How can you know what is God's will if you do not know or understand what it is in yourself that stands between you and doing God's will, if you don't look inside yourself? I do not believe that is actually possible. You have to look within. Then when that is opened in you to where you can now truly see and understand what God is, the natural response is Love. You become filled to overflowing, and others are finally seen through the eyes of God with compassion, rather that through our own eyes with judgements and rankings according to our egos.

    So the practice of chanting prayers, which is what a matra is, is an act of intention and devotion to God with dedication in the heart, and the result is to be able to see clearly who we truly are in God and become more loving and compassionate people.

    Whoever told you the stuff you repeated, is simply spreading ignorance and fear. That's a shame, but I'm glad I was able to offer some better light on this subject for you.


    I wish to address a couple other points from you post, which I will do later....
     
  20. Windwalker

    Windwalker Integralist
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    When one enters into states of communion with the Holy Spirit through meditation, which chant may help facilitate for the practitioner, you do in fact end up praying for everyone. It is a natural outflowing of what happens when you get yourself out of the way and let God's Love flow through you. You pray for the whole world.

    Again, whoever told you these things are selfish or self-seeking prayers, does not know what they are talking about. They are speculating and projecting their ignorances. The exact opposite is the truth of it.

    You don't know what you are saying here. Yes, when you are humble, that is you have set your ego aside and let God's Love fill your heart, you do fulfil all of the scriptures in two single actions. One, you "Love God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength", and Two, you "love your neighbor as yourself". When you do that you fulfill God's will entirely. This is what Jesus Christ taught explicitly, using those words.

    Nit picking about forms of "how to pray", arguing with others what they believe God accepts and does not, is a legalist interpretation of God, and that stems purely from the ego. "I thank God I am not like this man, a sinner". That is what is lacking in humility. That is what stands in the way of Truth. Love takes on many forms.

    And if someone finds something that works for them to let God take over their lives, then HOW is that wrong in your eyes? Are you really ready to tell them that God does not accept that, when in fact it is bearing true spiritual fruit in their lives? Are you really sure you want to do that? Is that serving God, or your own ego? I can tell you, it is the latter only.

    I have to laugh at this when you simply look at any long-term married couple. That is exactly what we do. We repeat the same old stories to each other, year after year. :)

    But again, you fail to truly understand or appreciate what a chant or a mantra is. Is a song. It is simply that. It's singing. And in singing you do in fact repeat the same words over and over. How many tunes do you sing listening to the radio. Aren't those the same words each time you sing it? What's wrong with that? Anything?

    The words are not communication, in the sense of content of ideas such as a grocery list. The chant is simply a vehicle to express the heart and soul, like you do through music. It's nothing more mysterious than that. And it is in fact the intention of the heart while engaged in that particular spiritual practice that is being God's friend. You showed up, and sang your song to him! Goodness, what's wrong with that??? :)

    I don't disagree with this. Yes, you can't be insincere with God. And if you are in fact sincere in knowing God, then to act in ways which hinder the Spirit in you, such as judging other Christians they aren't following God because they don't believe and practice religion like yourself, then you set aside such things as judgmentalism because that is inconsistent with the nature of God. God is Love. Those things are contrary to Love.

    You are not using the correct language here. It is not a matter of being "correct". It is a matter of being honest and sincere. It's not about the religion being "right", it's about the person using it in their seeking of God. Does it help, or hinder that? That is the real litmus test. Jesus said this himself. "By their fruits you shall know them". He does not say by their beliefs and practices. Yet, the legalist says everything in the world to indicate that it is about "correct" beliefs and practices.

    You could worship God with a bottle cap, if that held meaning for you and helped bring you closer to God. God will accept your sincerity, and cares a less about the tools you found to help you. It's the end result that bears witness to the truth for you. Fruits of the Spirit, cannot be faked. They are honest, genuine, true, and not the result of the ego claiming to know better what God wants than the Spirit of God itself.

    Absolutely. It doesn't matter what truth claims you think you have, if they are not alive in your heart, you are not following Jesus, despite all your Bible studies you go to, witnessing you do, claims to knowing what others don't know, and so forth. A simple child knows more about God than most theologians.

    If you are not worshipping from your heart, and are instead trying to climb into another way, thinking having the correct translations of the Bible and such, then that is the wrong way. That is the way of the ego. And wide is that path.

    However, even in a system built on error such as this, which you can and do see in many religious thought from all religions, as Legalism is a mentality which exists in all religions, you can and do in fact have sincere seekers within all of them. It's those who are sincere, that are the true children of God, even if they are mistaken in thinking that following the legal rules is what get's them into heaven. The sincerity of the heart, will one day if they continue to allow it to grow, realize it's not in the codes to uncrack, but in the humility of the heart, and the religion you practice is simply a tool that is not the key. Love is the key. Jesus taught this.
     
    #20 Windwalker, Oct 27, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2018
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