Vain Repitition

Hi,
Today I heard a sermon, in which The Lord’s prayer had
been mentioned as a model prayer, but not a prayer meant
to be used as an exact formula, said over an over again. I guess
he’s not off the mark when he said that when churches (not just
Catholic) do them as a regular liturgy, and after , say, a number of
years go by, the power is lost, as in other prayers because
the congregants recite them as a matter of routine,
and they will have lost any meaning or power.
I can see his point, somewhat, (and he made it a point that
he wasn’t saying that the Lord’s prayer is bad-but)
and I think it’s a matter of the heart of the pray-er…
He then went on to say that just a couple of verses before
(Matt 6:6) Jesussaid not to pray in vain repititions as the
heathen do.

My question is this- Obviously Jesus was not talking about
the Lord’s Prayer. I’m guessing he was referring to something
else. What would that be?

In Christ,
Jeff

Jesus encouraged communal prayer when he said “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Mt 18:20). Standardized and repetitious prayers are formulaic in nature and they allow us to participate in the prayer of the whole body of Christ since many others use the same prayers.

But Jesus cautioned against mindless repetition: "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.” (Mt 6:7) To avoid this, meditation is required.

The Catechism teaches, “Meditation engages thought, imagination, emotion, and desire. This mobilization of faculties is necessary in order to deepen our convictions of faith, prompt the conversion of our heart, and strengthen our will to follow Christ. Christian prayer tries above all to meditate on the mysteries of Christ, as in lectio divina or the rosary. This form of prayerful reflection is of great value, but Christian prayer should go further: to the knowledge of the love of the Lord Jesus, to union with him” (CCC 2708).

For more information see Common Catholic Prayers.

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