Matthew 6:8 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Matthew 6:8, NIV: Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

Matthew 6:8, ESV: Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

Matthew 6:8, KJV: Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.

Matthew 6:8, NASB: So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.

Matthew 6:8, NLT: Don't be like them, for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him!

Matthew 6:8, CSB: Don't be like them, because your Father knows the things you need before you ask him.

What does Matthew 6:8 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Jesus has turned to the topic of prayer in His Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:1–2). In the prior chapter, He emphasized that inner thoughts are as much a part of righteousness as outward actions (Matthew 5:20). He even applied that to good deeds—noting that selfish motivations undo the point of good works (Matthew 6:1). Recently, He continued that theme with comments about prayer. Christians are not meant to pray with the intent to impress others. That makes you a hypocrite, and you will receive no reward from God for that (Matthew 6:5–6). Nor does God approve the pattern of the pagans who mindlessly repeat words and phrases over and over, thinking that will make them more likely to be heard (Matthew 6:7).

God does not need, want, or ask for mindlessly repeated prayers. We don't need to use just the right words for Him to understand (Romans 8:26). What we do need is to communicate in sincerity and humility. God knows what we need before we even ask. We can speak to Him simply and openly, and He will hear, understand, and respond (Hebrews 4:15–16).

To clarify these teachings even further, Jesus will offer a model prayer in the following verses (Matthew 6:9–13).