Prayer Repetition is Forbidden By The Bible...

Or Is It???

Matthew 6:7, "But when you pray, use not 'vain' repetitions, as the 'heathens' do; for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking."

This is the only verse in the Bible to which detractors of the Rosary refer. The emphasis in this verse is on the word "vain" and not on the word "repetitions". Let us look at the meaning of the keywords, 'vain', and 'heathen', which portray the meaning of the entire verse...

1. Not yielding the desired outcome.
    a. Many desired outcomes have been realized by praying the rosary.
2. Lacking substance or worth.
    a. The same reasoning applies here too.
3. Excessively proud of one's appearance, or accomplishments, conceited.
    a. Not applicable here.
4. Foolish.
    a. Not so with the excellent fruits received by so many who pray the rosary.
5. To no avail: our labor was in vain.
    a. Certainly not this one, see 1a.
6. Irreverently, i.e, took the name of the Lord in vain.
    a. Definitely not this meaning.

To which of these meanings do detractors refer?

1. One who adheres to the religion of a people or nation that does not acknowledge the GOD of Judaism, Christianity, or Islam.
    a. All Christians are off the hook here.
2. The unconverted.
    a. Same as 1a.
3. One who is regarded as irreligious, uncivilized, or unenlightened.
    a. Same as 1a.

Hmmm, it seems to me that Christians do not fall under any of these meanings.

The simple fact of the matter is that there is (V)ain repetition, and there is (U)seful repetition. Holy Scripture refers to far more Useful repetition, than to Vain...

Useful repetition of prayer...

1. Isaiah 6:3, "And they cried one to another, and said; Holy, Holy, Holy, the Lord GOD of hosts, all the earth is full of His glory."
   a. The Seraphim repetitiously praising GOD.

2. Daniel 3:51-90, this is the famous 'Canticle of the three children'.
   a. A great number of repetitions here.

3. Matthew 26:36-44, "...And leaving them he went back again, and prayed a third time, saying the same words over."
    a. Jesus Christ Himself in repetitious prayer. Can we do less?

4. Luke 6:12, "Now it came to pass in those days, that He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to GOD."
    a. All night prayer, any repetition here?

5. Luke 18:1,3-5, "And He told them a parable that they must always pray and not lose heart."
Vs 3-5, is the parable of the GODless judge..."...yet because this widow bothers me, I will do her justice, lest by her continual coming she finally wear me out."

6. Luke 21:36, "Watch then, praying at all times..."

7. Acts 12:5, "So Peter was being kept in the prison; but prayer was being made to GOD for him by the Church without ceasing."

8. Romans 1:9-10, "For GOD is my witness, whom I serve in my spirit in the Gospel of His Son, how unceasingly I make mention of you, always imploring in my prayers..."

9. Ephesians 6:18, "With all prayer and supplications pray at all times in the spirit..."

10. Colossians 1:9, "This is why we too have been praying for you unceasingly..."

11. 1 Thessalonians 3:10, "Night and day we pray more and more that we may see you again..."

12. 1Thessalonians 5:17, "Pray without ceasing."
      a. 'Without ceasing', you would have to pray repetitiously.

13. 2Timothy 1:3, "...that I remember you without ceasing in my prayers night and day."  
     a. How can anyone do this without repetitious prayer?

14. James 5:16, "For the unceasing prayer of a just man is of great avail."
     a. I would say 'of great avail', is just the opposite of 'vain', wouldn't you?
     b. I would say praying the Rosary fits rather nicely right here wouldn't you agree?

15. Revelation 4:8, "And they do not rest day and night saying, Holy, Holy , Holy, the Lord GOD Almighty, who was, who is, and who is coming."
     a. My oh my, even the angels before GOD do repetitive prayer.

16. Psalms 136 has 25 verses. In every one of those 25 verses, there is the prayer, "for His mercy endures forever." How do those who use Matthew 6:7 to detract from the rosary explain that?

17. Psalms 150 has only 5 verses and yet either "Praise the Lord", or "Praise him", is repeated 11 times in those 5 verses.

18. Exodus 17:8-13, as long as Moses held up his hands in prayer, Joshua and Israel had the better of the battle with Amalek. As soon as he let his hands rest, Amalek gained the better of the battle. How could Moses have prayed for the better part of a day without being repetitive? This is a shining example of the power of prayer.

19. Luke 18:1-8, a persistent woman pestered the judge with a repetitive request for a long time. In verse 5, the judge became weary and finally granted her request. Now what do you suppose would have happened if the woman had twenty of her friends to speak (pray) in her behalf? No doubt the judge would have caved in sooner.

Vain repetition of prayer...

1. 1 kings 18:25-29, They were praying to Baal, and in vs 29, "...and there was no voice heard, nor did anyone answer, nor regard them as they prayed."

The Rosary is certainly not "vain" repetition for praying, as it has brought much joy to many people. Just as one example, on January 28, 1998, Mother Angelica of EWTN was miraculously healed of a crippling back injury after forty years of pain and having to wear three braces.
She was healed while she prayed the Rosary...

Written by Bob Stanley, March 21, 1998...
Updated November 8, 2001
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