One of the most unscriptural and unspiritual misuses of prayer is the repeating of prayers composed by others. Many members of both Protestant and Catholic churches, indeed, many sincere believers, repeat over and over again prayers that have been prepared for them to recite. Undoubtedly the greatest number of all make it a practice to repeat the so-called “Lord’s Prayer,” taken from the Gospel records.
Evidently all these millions of professing Christians have overlooked the fact that it was when the disciples asked our Lord to teach them how to pray (Luke 11:1) that He said: “After this manner therefore pray ye” (Matt. 6:9).
Moreover, He prefaced these words with the specific injunction:
“But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them…” (Matt. 6:7,8).
Both Protestants and Catholics make much of repeating the “Lord’s Prayer.” They repeat it singly and in unison, in trouble and sorrow, in sickness and death, in storm and drought, in war and disaster, with little or no regard for its contents.
Imagine praying, “Give us this day our daily bread” at a funeral service! Imagine praying, “Thy kingdom come” at a sick bed or in a storm at sea! Yet this is solemnly done again and again throughout Christendom. Whole audiences continue to repeat the prayer in unison — and this in the face of the fact that it was in connection with this very prayer that our Lord pronounced the mere repetition of prayers “vain” and enjoined His disciples not to follow the heathen in this practice.
What a difference there is between praying and saying prayers! No truly spiritual believer will do the latter.
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.
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