Q. I recently read an article in which the author referenced the “Prayer of Jabez.” (1 Chron 4:9-10) He concluded that “God will not give us what we want just because we pray a certain prayer 3, 4, or even 1,000 times a day. When we do this we are putting our trust in the prayer instead of God, and it becomes a form of idolatry.” I had never thought of repetitive prayer in that way. I know there are several religions that have their prayer rituals and chants. What are your thoughts on this?
A. I don’t know what else the author in your question said, but I agree with him on this point. In Matt. 6:7-8 Jesus said,
And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
In the King James the word translated “babbling” is called “vain repetitions”. The Greek word means “to repeat the same thing over and over”.