More Words are not More Prayer

for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. Therefore do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need, before you ask Him. (Matt 6:7-8 NASB)

Have you ever been in a situation where people are praying and they just go on and on and on?

Have you ever been victim (or perpetrator) of one of these familiar favorites?

  • Preach-o-prayer
  • Teach-o-prayer
  • Inform-o-prayer
  • Rant-o-prayer
  • Correct-your-behavior-o-prayer
  • Correct-your-theology-o-prayer
  • Gossip-o-prayer
  • King-James-You-to-tears-o-prayer

Do you realize that God does not actually require information? We don’t have to bring Him up to date on the latest news.

I get how this happens. You are sitting in a prayer meeting, and you have already begun praying, and something comes to mind and you want to bring it before the throne of Grace, but no one else in the room is up to date. So you take a few minutes of prayer to inform God of the circumstances, and then bring your burden to Him.

Here is a suggestion. Break out of the religious habit that says once we start praying we should keep heads bowed, and all our words directed toward heaven until someone breaks that awkward silence at the end where people used to say “in Jesus name, Amen.” You know the moment.

Well what if – you just picked up your head, opened your eyes and said – Hey everybody, I want to let you know what is going on here, so we can agree in prayer together about it – give the update – and then address Our Father.

And while I am at it – have you ever been in a prayer meeting where in one breath we with eyes closed and heads bowed in reverent whispers are addressing our Lord and Master, and then in the same reverent form we rebuke the devil.

Did you ever consider that they are not on the same line?

Again, I suggest you open your eyes, get out of that reverent position and deal with the devil as if he was your enemy. Let’s not “pray” to him, eyes open, head high, with out any undue respect.

Let’s get back to prayer being a conversation with the Lord.

I love the Lyrics from Misty Edwards’ song “Dove’s Eyes” where she says:

I don’t want to talk about You like You’re not in the room, I want to look right at You, I want to sing right to You.

I get that prayer is a huge privilege and that it cost the broken body and shed blood of Jesus to secure us access to the Holy of Holies. But prayer should be a taste of heaven – full on worship – the joy of His presence and the experience of God invented pleasures, pure and untainted by sin. ‘O what a foretaste of glory divine’

Conclusion: When we pray, let’s act like God is in the room with us. [Tweet This]

Hey – thanks for stopping by today.

Ben

Here's the Misty Edwards song I mentioned. It will bless you - it is short and beautiful.

0 thoughts on “More Words are not More Prayer

  1. francis drake

    I loath ecclesiastical language. It plants a special meaning to words which are quite ordinary.
    For example "holy" which seems to require a hushed breath to speak it, when in fact it only means something "set apart" from the ordinary in the same way your best suit might be set apart. Holy had other every day usage in language other than references to God or heaven.

    In the same way, the word "prayer" irritates me because it removes it from the normal, and adds loads of garbage to the meaning, much as you describe. It is always falsely assumed that prayer means addressing God.
    Pray as a word was historically used in everyday language between one person and another. It often came out as prithee, or pray thee. Shakespeare was certainly not speaking to God whenever he used it.

    From memory, the word translated as pray actually means to speak towards. Perhaps "to address" might be a good word to use rather than pray.

    For many, "pray" seems to mean "read out your shopping list" to God. It doesn't seem to include listening which is a crucial aspect of it.

    Reply
  2. Caddo Veil

    "I believe that You move at the sound of my voice"--wow. That is so powerful, beautifully comforting--thank you, Ben! I'm going to hang onto that line.

    I confess that I was chuckling through this post--you always have great teaching messages, and sometimes the writing is amusing (Pastor Robert, at Gateway, has the same gift!). Sometimes I catch myself--in jabbering to God--thinking that either He's old and has memory issues, or just so Busy that He may have forgotten some piece of trivia. As though He knows the bulk of what I'm talking about, but I just need to put what I'm about to say "in context", remind Him--that's what got me laughing, really. Oh well--maybe I'm a bit delirious today, what's new, eh? God bless you big, brother--love, sis Caddo

    Reply
    1. Ben Nelson

      So - i was really talking more about corporate prayer where people tell God stuff so that the others in the room are up to date. I am all good with talking through stuff with God - like you would with a dear friend or spouse.

      Love you girl!

      Ben

      Reply
      1. Caddo Veil

        Oh okay, sorry--I think I could be uncharacteristically concise in that situation; I'm rather shy in group prayer, though I probably could manage all right with up to 3 people maybe. See you manana!

        Reply
  3. Debbie

    You got me laughing too . ..especially the one about if we've ever considered the devil and God aren't on the same line. Zing . .done that. I'll remember now it's not a party line. 🙂 God bless you, Ben. This is such a great series and is helping so much.

    Reply

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