Matthew 6:7-15 is located right in the middle of Jesus’ teaching on alms giving, prayer, and fasting. During His teaching on prayer, Jesus magnifies this topic even further by re-contrasting how His followers should pray with how non-believers often chose to pray. Verses 7-8 read:
“7But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. 8Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.”
The term “vain repetitions” comes from a Greek word that means using idle words or babbling and is not denouncing repetitive prayers, but rather the attitude of repeating words in order to get something. An example of this would be when a child repeatedly asks or badgers his/her parents in order to wear down and eventually get the desired object or permission. Instead of trying to influence or control God, Jesus teaches that His followers are to remember our Heavenly Father knows what we need and we can trust Him.
Unless otherwise noted, all biblical passage references are in the King James Version (New York: Oxford University Press, 1996).