“And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do,
for they think that they will be heard for their many words.”
– Matthew 6:7 (ESV)

As a junior varsity football coach, I quickly learned the importance of keeping things simple. One of my goals each season was to get the offense to execute five running plays and three passing plays with confidence and precision. However, the temptation to expand the play book was always in the back of my mind. How would it look to other coaches or fans if they knew I only had eight plays? Would they think I wasn’t very smart or just a poor coach? Wouldn’t it be more difficult for opposing coaches to prepare if we had sixteen plays or maybe twenty-four? What I came to realize was if my team could execute eight plays effectively, we had a chance against anyone. I learned it was more important to run a few plays well than it was to try and impress others with a big play book my players couldn’t master.

Our prayer life can be like this if we aren’t careful. How often do we hear repetitious prayers filled with emptiness? It could be a blessing before a meal or saying our prayers before going to bed at night. No real connection to God, just words. Sometimes we may even pray as though we are trying to impress God. We think the more words we use the more God will like it. If we use some impressive “church” words, it’s even better. I believe God is more interested in our sincerity and our heart than He is about the number and size of our words. Former New York Yankee great, Bobby Richardson, was once asked to pray at an event and prayed these words. “Dear God, Your will, nothing more, nothing less, nothing else. Amen.” I have no doubt God heard and appreciated that request. Remember, quality is more important to God than quality.

Heavenly Father, thank You for loving me. Teach me today to keep it simple as I strive to know You better. Amen.