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You know, Jesus warned not to babble on like the pagans who think they’ll be heard because of their many words.1 Jesus was certainly warning against empty prayers not said from the heart, but He was not condemning any and all structured prayer or ritual, as some would suggest.
Jewish worship in the synagogue had repetitious, liturgical prayer, and Jesus participated in it. The Jews prayed Psalm 136 as a litany, which repeats the phrase “His love endures forever” over 25 times! And of course most of our songs are simply structured prayers set to music.
Rituals and rote prayers have immense value in enabling God’s people to pray together. They can also be helpful when praying alone, especially if you’re going through a spiritual dry spell and don’t have much spontaneous inspiration.
So we should use structured prayers in our worship, but always heed Jesus’ warning not to go through the motions mindlessly, but strive to worship with our whole heart, mind and strength.
1 – Mt. 6:7