Prayer is an essential exercise of faith. We must pray continually to thank God for our blessings and ask for His assistance in our lives. I was pondering the other day on Matthew 6:7 and the counsel it gives on not using vain repetition in prayer. As I prayed, I thanked the Lord for all the blessings in my life. I realized that the phrase “I thank thee for all of my blessings” is a common phrase in my prayers but I was comforted to realize the true meaning of the scripture. We are not counseled against solely repetition but against vain repetition. If I truly and sincerely mean those words each day, it is not wrong to repeat them. We will have blessings in our lives that we are grateful for on more than one occasion and it is appropriate to express gratitude for them more than once. We are counseled against the use of repetition without thought but with sincerity it can become part of heartfelt prayer.

President Thomas S. Monson reminds us in his talk “Pray with Sincerity” to, “As we pray, let us really communicate with our Father in Heaven. It is easy to let our prayers become repetitious, expressing words with little or no thought behind them. When we remember that each of us is literally a spirit son or daughter of God, we will not find it difficult to approach Him in prayer. He knows us; He loves us; He wants what is best for us. Let us pray with sincerity and meaning, offering our thanks and asking for those things we feel we need. Let us listen for His answers, that we may recognize them when they come. As we do, we will be strengthened and blessed.”

I hope we can all strive to make our prayers more meaningful and sincere not resorting to vain repetition but heartfelt thanks.