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.-Matthew 6:7-8
What is Jesus saying here? Jesus is telling us that is not the number of words in our prayers that make them effective, but that it is the attitude or the heart of the person praying that makes a prayer effective. He then goes on to give us an example of a very short but very effective prayer.
This, then is how you should pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.-Matthew 6:9-13 NIV
If you will notice Jesus’ model prayer did not use words, or fancy language. But rather he used simple words and simple language. He taught his disciples and he is teaching us to talk to God as if he is your best friend. In fact God is much better than any best friend you can have on this earth, because your earthly best friend cannot possibly know everything you need before you even ask. In fact God sent someone to live inside of you who knows what you need and who will bring those needs before God when you don’t even know that you have those needs. Who is this person? This person is the Holy Spirit, who lives inside every follower of Jesus. And here is how the Apostle Paul described the Holy Spirit’s work in our prayer life as follower of Christ.
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.-Romans 8:26-27 NIV
This the real reason that Jesus told us not to “keep on babbling like pagans”, because unlike unbelievers those of us who are followers of Christ have the Holy Spirit living inside of us who knows what our needs are and who brings those needs before God even if we don’t know what those needs are. Jesus promised to send us an advocate and he did. And it is up to you make full use of that advocate called the Holy Spirit.