My brother in Christ Dr. Vander Warner Jr. got me started thinking about this by his recent article on “Short Prayers.” (Do what I did and google it.)
Frank Laubach, literacy pioneer and beloved brother in Christ, used to call these “prayer arrows.” Short sentences sent heavenward to praise, give thanks, intercede or summon the Lord’s assistance have a potency all their own.
The hypocrites think they will be heard for their “much speaking.” (Oh, I pray for two hours every morning. You mean you don’t?)
Professor Dan Crawford remembers someone saying, “A sentence prayer is not a life sentence.”
Pagans think they will be heard for their loud praying. (“God must be far off and we have to summon Him to draw near to us.”) The Baal-worshipers on Mount Carmel are the poster children for this foolishness (I Kings 18:26).
The overly righteous think they will be heard for their religious praying. (“Let me pile scriptural phrases on top of more scriptural phrases. The Lord is impressed by that sort of thing.”) See what Ecclesiastes 5:2-3 has to say about this affliction.
Our Lord said, “Those who worship (God) must worship Him in spirit and truth” (John 4:24). That seems to be the standard: My spirit with His truth. And definitely not, “My mindless body with someone else’s thoughts.”
The length of one’s prayer seems to be irrelevant. Measuring our prayers (the time, the volume, the length) is an exercise in foolishness. Weighing our prayers on any kind of human scale ranks as the ultimate in silly.
When the sweetheart goes into her house at night, she does not gauge the depth of her fellow’s love by the length of his monologues.
Just speak to the Father.