Neal asked:

Why do we repeat prayers over and over when the bible says it's not something you should do?

Patrick Coffin replied:

"You're probably thinking of the sixth chapter of Matthew verse 7 which is poorly translated I'm sad to say in the King James Version as vain repetitions. Matthew 6:7 says and in not heap up empty phrases as the gentiles do for they think that they'll be heard for their many words. So the context is don't heap up empty phrases...He's not saying don't have any repetition otherwise the angels in Revelation 4:8 would be disobeying God's own word when they sing holy, holy, holy. Wouldn't one holy do it? I mean God doesn't have a hearing problem right?"

Tom Nash replied:

"Or how about the Lord's Prayer for that matter? In John 6, when you pray pray like this, and he didn't say, well after ten times stop doing it. So it's a question of one's sincerity as opposed to one trying to see if they heap up these words.

I remember Karl Keating and his book...talking about if they got the right combinations that they could somehow hit and appease God in some way instead of sincerely praying.

So one can have a prayer that one might repeat regularly. And in fact we see it in the early church...the liturgy of the word and the liturgy of the eucharist and that's very clear in the early church. And we see the template in the bible as well because first Jesus preached spoken of as the first post resurrection mass on the road to Emmaus and talked about in Luke 24 where first He preaches the word to them showing how the messiah is revealed in all the old testament prophecies and then they, liturgy of the eucharist they engage in the breaking of the bread and at that point Jesus disappears so as to avoid the redundancy of his visibly being there when he's trying to point to them that he will always remain with them in the sacramental way."

Patrick Coffin replied:

"If you check out Psalm says for his steadfast love endures forever. You've got that phrase repeated 26 times over 26 verses. And I'm thinking of...the widow who kept knocking on the door of the unjust judge...Jesus is actually commending repetitious prayer as long as it's not empty...vain."

Check out this similar question that Patrick Madrid answered here.


Catholic Answers, "Open Forum" (San Diego: Catholic Answers, 2015)

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Show air date: December 15, 2015

Name of show: Open Forum

Guest comments by: Tom Nash

Question appeared in show: 17:28

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