“They Did Not Multiply Many Words”

Church Educational System

What does it mean to pray and “not multiply many words”? (3 Nephi 19:24). Elder Gene R. Cook of the Seventy gave the following insights:

“When the Nephite disciples were praying in the presence of Jesus, they set a good example for us all. The record says … ‘they did not multiply many words. …’
“This is consistent with the commandment the Lord gave to the Jews during his mortal ministry. He said, ‘When ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.’ (Matthew 6:7; also see 3 Nephi 13:7.)
“When we pray publicly, let us be careful to never be swept away in the desire for the honors of men, which might cause us to pray without real intent or to unnecessarily extend the length of our prayers. The same caution applies to those who pray for a mortal audience rather than simply to be heard by the Lord. We must always be careful to avoid ‘flowery’ prayers or prayers to impress. Surely the Lord is not pleased with such an approach, nor will he answer the prayers of one who is not focused on the Lord or who prays without real intent” (Receiving Answers to Our Prayers [1996], 43–44).

Book of Mormon Student Manual (2009 Edition)