5 “Whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites because they love to pray while standing in synagogues and on street corners so that people can see them. Truly I say to you, they have their reward! 6 But whenever you pray, go into your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father, who sees in secret, will reward you. 7 When you pray, do not babble repetitiously like the Gentiles because they think that by their many words they will be heard. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. 9 So pray this way: “Our Father in heaven, may your name be honored, 10 may your kingdom come, may your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Berakhot 55aBabylonian Talmud
Anyone who prolongs his prayer and expects it to be answered, will ultimately come to heartache, as it is stated: “Hope deferred makes the heart sick” (Proverbs 13:12). Similarly, Rabbi Yitzḥak said: Three matters evoke a person’s sins, and they are: Endangering oneself by sitting or standing next to an inclined wall that is about to collapse, expecting prayer to be accepted, as that leads to an assessment of his status and merit, and passing a case against another to Heaven, as praying for Heaven to pass judgment on another person causes one’s own deeds to be examined and compared with the deeds of that other person. This proves that prolonging prayer is a fault.
Notes and References
"... Matthew 6:5–7 makes the same point about prayer: Do not do it to be seen by others and do not heap up empty phrases. Jews prayed standing up and wherever they found themselves when it was time for prayer. Jesus does not criticize standing to pray or praying in public; he criticizes those who love to be seen praying. Pastors stand and pray in public; they are not necessarily hypocritical. As to empty rhetoric: “Repeat not your words in prayer. Be not rash with your mouth and let not your heart be hasty to utter anything before God, for God is in heaven and you are upon the earth, therefore, let your words be few” (b. Berakhot 61a). “God said to Moses: ‘My children are in distress and you are making long prayers!’” (Mekilta of Rabbi Ishmael on Exodus 15:25) ..."
Allen, Ronald J. Preaching the Gospels without Blaming the Jews: A Lectionary Commentary (p. 27) Westminster John Knox Press, 2004
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