Have you ever wondered if God is really listening to your prayers? Do you sometimes think that your prayers are going unheard? Have you asked yourself if you are praying “correctly?” Do you think you might be worrying too much about how to pray?
We’ve all seen someone during our lives who has prayed in public and seems to go on forever. We likely have sat in the pew and wondered if he or she was ever going to finish. It gets to be a distraction with our mind wondering all over the place.
Don’t misunderstand me, there are certainly times we should spend more time in prayer than we do. There are times when we find ourselves in such distress that we need a long conversation with God, pouring our hearts out, crying tears of sorrow or frustration or perhaps anger before God. There may be times when we have a big decision before us and we need to spend more time with God, not asking, but listening for His guidance.
But there are also times when prayer should be short and to the point. There are times when we should not babble on and on. There are times when our prayer should be a quick prayer that simply says, “God you already know what I need, and I trust You.”
How do we know when to pray quickly or spend a lengthy time with God? First, public prayers should not be long. Get to the point and move on. Otherwise, you begin to lose the attention of those who are praying with you. You may wonder why that is important. When we pray as a community with all who are present coming together as one, we bring more of the body of Christ together. This brings more power to the prayer.
So, when should we spend a longer time in prayer? When we are alone. When we are wrestling with a tough decision. When we are in distress over a situation. When we are at a loss and longing for God’s guidance. These prayers should include our understanding of the issue we face, the request for God to intervene, and listening for God to respond. It is that last part that often trips us up. We ask God for what we want and let it go at that. We, too often, don’t spend enough time listening for His guidance or His answer to our request.
I pray we all spend time in prayer. I pray we go to a private place to spend quality time with God. I pray each of us will carry on a two-way conversation with God. Spend time in prayer. Spend time with God. Listen for God’s guidance. Trust God to provide the solution. God loves you.
Matthew 6:6-8 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 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.