Ann Large shared the following message at our last church prayer meeting. It is well worth a read!
A friend texted me and asked me to pray about something for her. So I prayed a short prayer, about 2 sentences long. Then I started to think that maybe that wasn’t a long enough prayer and I needed to make it longer to give it a bit more oomph! But to be honest I’d covered what she had asked me to pray for, so more words would probably have been superfluous.
When we were new Christians we didn’t learn about prayer from the bible but from watching and listening to others in the church we were in at the time. We soon realised that long eloquent prayers, full of spiritual words and phrases were what was expected. And those who prayed that way were regarded as the mature, godly ones. In response we started to try and most of the time failed to emulate these spiritual giants.
So how long do our prayers need to be?
In Matthew 6: 7 – 8 Jesus taught this: “and when you pray do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” Our Bible Commentary says this about these verses: “Jesus is teaching against the ‘slot machine principle’”. You put in words and get out answers. Prayer is not like this, it springs out of a personal relationship with the Father.
Prayer is not about techniques and formulas, or being able to pray long erudite prayers. It’s about us coming to our heavenly Dad and having a conversation.
Some tips to help us pray as Jesus teaches us to in this passage from Matthew:
1. Pray short, snappy prayers, remembering God already knows the circumstances and needs.
2. Use simple language, not Christian jargon or old language.
3. Be yourself, you don’t need to be super-spiritual.
Remember – a longer prayer is not necessarily a more effective one!
(photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhoto)