You asked about potential objections concerning “vain repetitious prayer”.
Below is an excerpt from our local Catholic Men’s Bible group. (It focuses on what some Protestants have said to the men in the group so it may not be exactly what you are looking for, but hopefully it helps with your question somewhat).
Catholics & Their . . .Vain Repetitious Prayer Vain Repetitious Prayer Vain Repetitious Prayer
MATTHEW 6:7 (KJV) But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.
MATTHEW 6:7 (RSV)** 7 "And in praying do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard for their many words.
We often hear from some (thankfully not “all”) Fundamentalist Protestants about how Catholics don’t obey Jesus because we allegedly carry out: “Vain repetitious prayer” (i.e. The Rosary).
When Jesus taught concerning Matthew 6:7, He was re-affirming something that was already being taught in the Catholic Old Testament (which Protestants have sadly rejected—Sirach).
SIRACH 7:14 (RSV) 14 Do not prattle in the assembly of the elders, nor repeat yourself in your prayer.
Jesus’ admonition against repetition in prayer is in the context of “prattling” or “many words”.
But does that mean “**ALL **repetitious prayer" = "VAIN prattling repetitious prayer”?
The answer we will see is “NO”.
**Not all repetitious prayer = VAIN repetitious prayer. **
Jesus teaches, “do not heap up” vain or “empty phrases” in prayer. That’s the prohibition.
Vain repetitious prayer is focused not on God, but upon one’s self.
As Dave Armstrong says (here), this is a “theme of genuine vs. sham piety”.
Pagans (or “the heathen”) would often pray like this and sometimes the Pharisees did too.
Jesus warns us about the Pharisee’s vain prayers in the Temple. Jesus even tells us about a Pharisee (parable in Luke 18:9-11) who vainly, “trusted in (himself)” and “prayed with himself”.
LUKE 18:9-11a (RSV) 9 He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and despised others: 10 "Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, 'God, I thank thee that I am not like other men . . .
Yet we are told the righteous tax collector said, “God, be merciful to me a sinner!” Do you think the righteous tax collector MAY have repeated this prayer? Likely yes.
LUKE 18:13-14 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for every one who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted."
If ALL repetitious prayer is automatically VAIN repetitious prayer, WHY would Jesus Himself tell us two measly verses later (Mt 6:9) to pray the Our Father prayer. **Do you think Jesus only intended us to pray this prayer “once”?? **
MATTHEW 6:9-12a 9 Pray then like this: Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. 10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread; 12 And forgive us our . . .
If ALL repetitious prayer is automatically VAIN repetitious prayer, WHY would Jesus Himself pray “repetitiously” (“he went away and prayed, saying the same words”—Mark 14:39)?
MATTHEW 26:44 44 So, leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words.
If ALL repetitious prayer is automatically VAIN repetitious prayer, WHY would the Angelic hosts in Heaven pray constantly and “repetitiously”, chanting “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of hosts”? (See also the Mass –The Sanctus and Isaiah 6:3 and Revelation 4:8) When the Angels constantly repeat this prayer in Heaven, does God holler out: “OK you guys! Knock off that vain repetitious prayer stuff right now!”?
No of course not.
Continued . . .