In praying, do not babble like the pagans. (Matthew 6:7)
Do not prattle. Do not prate. Do not babble. Do not vainly repeat. The heavenly Father has infinite patience. But don’t press your luck.
The Greek word in the gospel here—which, apparently, arose from a Hebrew word for vanity—sounds just like what it means. When you pray, do not battalogesete. Logos, of course, means…word. Do not batta the Lord with words. “Babble” seems like the perfect English equivalent, since it has the same onomatopoeia to it.
Do not battalogesete the Lord. Because He knows what we need before we ask Him. He knows what we need much better than we do.
So: Before I ask Him to conform His will to mine, let me pray for the grace humbly to conform my will to His. Before I tell Him what I imagine the earth ought to be like, let me pray that it be more like His unimaginably wonderful heaven.
Before I tell Him what’s supposed to happen tomorrow, let me beg Him for what I need today. Before I tell Him how to change somebody else, let me pray for the grace to change myself for the better.
Now, people accuse us of violating the divine precept against battalogesete-ing the Lord by reciting the Holy Rosary. I, for one, can hardly imagine a more baseless, even ironic, charge.
Our Fathers, punctuated by begging our Lady ten times to pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our deaths. Does not sound vain to me. Sounds pretty close to exactly what we should say.
So let’s let the experts and geniuses try to come up with some better way to pray. In the meantime, let’s keep praying daily for our bread and begging for mercy and Our Lady’s help as many times a day as we can manage.