From Asimov’s Guide to the Bible, pp. 832–3:


Jesus continues the Sermon on the Mount, denouncing ostentation in piety. He decries giving alms openly, praying in public, or deliberately exaggerating one’s appearance of suffering while fasting, all in order to receive admiration and gain a reputation for piety. Jesus points out that if it is human acclaim that is wanted, then it is received and that is all the reward that is likely to come.

He also counsels against uselessly long or ritualistic prayers:

Matthew 6:7.…when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.

Matthew 6:9. After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.

and there follows the well-known "Lord’s Prayer," so-called because it is the prayer recited by Jesus himself. In Latin the first words "Our Father" are "Pater noster," so that the prayer is sometimes called "the Paternoster."

Ironically enough, in view of Jesus’ admonition in Matthew 6:7, it is often customary to repeat the Paternoster a number of times in a fast, mumbling sort of way—so that the word "patter" for such fast, mumbling speech is derived from "Paternoster."


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