“But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.”
King James Version (KJV)
6:7 Use not vain repetitions - To repeat any words without meaning them, is certainly a vain repetition. Therefore we should be extremely careful in all our prayers to mean what we say; and to say only what we mean from the bottom of our hearts. The vain and heathenish repetitions which we are here warned against, are most dangerous, and yet very common; which is a principal cause why so many, who still profess religion, are a disgrace to it. Indeed all the words in the world are not equivalent to one holy desire. And the very best prayers are but vain repetitions, if they are not the language of the heart.
Mt 6:7 Use not vain repetitions, as the heathen [do]. What is forbidden is not "much" praying, nor praying "in the same words" (the Lord did both), but making the number of prayers, length of prayers, or time spent in praying, a point of observance and of merit. 1Ki 18:26 gives an example of the repetitions of the heathen. Mohammedans and Catholics still hold that there is merit in repeating certain prayers a set number of times.