«And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans» (Matthew 6:7, NIV).
YOUNG WIFE asked her husband one day: «Love, what do you say to the Lord when you pray over your food?’
«What kind of question is that?’ the husband wanted to know.» Don’t you think I say the same thing as you, or something similar?’
«That’s impossible!» she answered without hesitation. «I’ve never made a four-second prayer. Tell me, what is it that can be said to God in four seconds?’
Frowning and feeling somewhat annoyed, he explained it to her: » ‘Thank You, Lord, for the food. Amen.’ Is it necessary to say something else?”
I do not know if it is necessary to say something else, or if it makes sense to argue over the length of our prayers, but I do knowtwo things: 1) prayer should be a communication full of meaning and 2) sometimes we do not take advantage of that immensely powerful weapon that is within our reach.
A communication full of meaning. Our prayers must have a reason for being; they must have a logic; they must be felt and have the support of a mind focused on what it is telling the Lord. It does not matter if they are short or long, what does matter is whether they are mechanical or intentional. A lot of blah, blah—all hot air without authenticity, without complete surrender, without commitment, without being real—is not of much use in prayer. What is important is to be present, talking to God as we would talk to a friend.
A weapon that often goes to waste. Pay attention to this quote from Ellen G. White: «Those who will put on the whole armor of God and devote some time every day to meditation and prayer and to the study of the Scriptures will be connected with heaven and will have a saving, transforming influence upon those around them. Great thoughts, noble aspirations, clear perceptions of truth and duty to God, will be theirs… Their earnest prayers will enter into that within the veil. class will have a sanctified boldness to come into the presence of the Infinite One…. They will become refined, elevated, ennobled by this intimate acquaintance with God. Such is the privilege of true Christians» (White, Prayer, pp. 22—23).
Look at all that we will lose if we do not cultivate daily prayer. It is a weapon (and a privilege) that is within our reach. Let us not waste it.