Why the Shortest Prayer Usually Wins

April 27, 2016

Matthew 6:7-8

7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.


I wonder if Jesus was thinking about Elijah when he was teaching his disciples how to pray.

For twelve solid hours, four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal, prayed in all sorts of loud incantations  and formulaic prophecies over and over and over again. Nothing happened.

For thirty seconds, one prophet, Elijah, prayed a prayer that was all of 58 words and the prayer was answered. Take a look at 1 Kings 18 for all the details.

As I count it, the Lord’s Prayer comes to about 53 words.

That sounds about right.

You who have tasted of the grace of God in Christ Jesus are throughly convinced, “your Father knows what things you have need of, before you ask him.” So that the end of your praying is not to inform God, as though he knew not your wants already; but rather to inform yourselves; to fix the sense of those wants more deeply in your hearts, and the sense of your continual dependence on him who only is able to supply all your wants. It is not so much to move God, who is always more ready to give than you to ask, as to move yourselves, that you may be willing and ready to receive the good things he has prepared for you.  p.119

Longer, Louder, Intense.  vs. Shorter, Softer, Gentle.

You pick.

I think he’s trying to tell us that it’s not about our prayers. It’s about our God.

Daily Text MATTHEW 04-27-16


1. What do you think of this idea from the John Wesley quote that our  praying is not informing God of what God doesn’t know, but more deeply informing ourselves (in the presence of God) at the core of our being so that we might be prepared to recognize and receive God’s answer?

2. How might you get past a mindless and rote recitation of the Lord’s prayer? Mind you- that’s not a bad thing—after all, this prayer is pure Scripture. We just don’t want to leave this prayer behind as though that were all it were for.

3. Here’s an idea: When you are in your prayer closet today for 6:6 time. Take 7 minutes to slowly, deliberately and in a deeply focused way walk through each word and phrase of the Lord’s Prayer. Let that be your structure.

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J.D. Walt, is a Bond Slave of the Lord Jesus Christ.  jd.walt@seedbed.com.

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