“Is it wrong to pray Paul’s prayers, as grace pastors often tell us to do? What about the Lord’s warning about ‘vain repetitions’?”
The key word in Matthew 6:7 is the word “vain.” The Lord Himself repeated Himself in prayer during His prayer in Gethsemene. In Matthew 26, we read that He prayed (v. 39), then prayed again (v. 42), and then “prayed the third time, saying the same words” (v. 44). But there was certainly nothing “vain” about His repetition.
As I respond to the Bible questions that we receive on a daily basis here at BBS, I can often tell I’m sharing Pauline truth with someone who has never heard it before. In such cases, I often pray Paul’s prayer “that the eyes of your understanding might be enlightened” (Eph. 1:18). For grace believers struggling with a particular aspect of the truth, I usually pray that they “might stand perfect and complete in all the will of God” (Col. 4:12). For well-grounded grace believers, I pray that they will “be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might” (Eph. 6:10), and “strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 2:1). There’s nothing vain about those repetitions either!
To the Reader:
Some of our Two Minutes articles were written many years ago by Pastor C. R. Stam for publication in newspapers. When many of these articles were later compiled in book form, Pastor Stam wrote this word of explanation in the Preface:
"It should be borne in mind that the newspaper column, Two Minutes With the Bible, has now been published for many years, so that local, national and international events are discussed as if they occurred only recently. Rather than rewrite or date such articles, we have left them just as they were when first published. This, we felt, would add to the interest, especially since our readers understand that they first appeared as newspaper articles."
To this we would add that the same is true for the articles written by others that we continue to add, on a regular basis, to the Two Minutes library. We hope that you'll agree that while some of the references in these articles are dated, the spiritual truths taught therein are timeless.