When you are praying, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that 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.
Reflection from Mary Lou Ott:
Wow! Prayer is not about the words? I’m not sure that I ever truly grasped that until I opened my email and read that scripture passage. When the pain is so raw, I have found it hard to pray because I don’t have any words. Sometimes I cry; sometimes I go for a walk; sometimes I read my Bible.
I wonder, “Are any or all of those things, Prayer?”
“For your Father knows what you need before you ask him” That part of the passage wraps around me like loving arms. God knows me so well and loves me so immensely that he doesn’t need my words, because he already knows what I need.
So are my words important to him?
One of my favorite verses in the Bible is John 20:15 when Jesus asks Mary at the tomb, “Woman why are you weeping?” “Whom are you looking for?” He knows why she is crying, but he wants to hear the why from her. Maybe it is because my name is also Mary, but when I’m hurting, I often think about that question, “Woman why are you weeping.” Jesus does know what I need, but do I?
My loving, patient Father, forgive me when I come to you with empty phrases and selfish complaints. Thank you for hearing my cries, and supplying the words that I do not have. Deepen my faith so that I will always believe that you do know what I need and that you will always be by my side holding my hand as I struggle through how to answer your question.