Matthew 6:8

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Matthew 6:8
← 6:7
6:9 →
"The Sermon on the Mount" by Rudolf Yelin d.Ä. (1864-1940). Kirche in Reinerzau im Schwarzwald (1912).
BookGospel of Matthew
Christian Bible partNew Testament

Matthew 6:8 is the eighth verse of the sixth chapter of the Gospel of Matthew in the New Testament and is part of the Sermon on the Mount. This verse continues the discussion on the proper procedure for praying.


In the King James Version of the Bible the text reads:

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

The World English Bible translates the passage as:

Therefore don’t be like them, for your Father
knows what things you need, before you ask him.

For a collection of other versions see here: Matthew 6:8


Jesus has just condemned the lengthy prayers of the Gentiles, and in this verse states that such prayers are unnecessary as God is aware of a person's desire even before they ask. A similar statement is made at Isaiah 65:24.

This raises the question of why prayer is even necessary at all, and this issue has been much discussed by theologians. The most common view is that while God does not need prayer, humans do. Hendriksen states that while God clearly does not need the actual act of prayer, each person does need such an outlet to bare their soul.[1] Fowler believes this use of the term "your Father" is meant to enhance this fatherly aspect of God.[2] According to Schweizer prayer is a gift from God for the comfort of humans, not an action performed to seek a reward.[3] Fowler presents an alternate thesis that what Jesus is saying here is that, unlike in pagan prayers, there is no need to persuade or cajole God in prayer, God already knows all one's needs and a simple and sincere prayer would be the most effective.[4]


  1. ^ Hendriksen, William. The Gospel of Matthew. Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1976
  2. ^ Fowler, Harold. The Gospel of Matthew: Volume One. Joplin: College Press, 1968
  3. ^ Schweizer, Eduard. The Good News According to Matthew. Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1975
  4. ^ Fowler, Harold. The Gospel of Matthew: Volume One. Joplin: College Press, 1968

Preceded by
Matthew 6:7
Gospel of Matthew
Chapter 6
Succeeded by
Matthew 6:9