When praying to the one and only God almighty, we should never ever commit the mistake of praying to satisfy one of our habits or daily requirements. Due to the frequent nature of prayer, it could very easily become a routine item on a checklist which we feel the necessity to fulfill simply to continue pleasing our own mind with the habit which we have ingrained within it.
We should never, under any circumstance forget that prayer is a conversation with God. It is not any type of conversation, but it still follows the mechanics of any conversation you would have with any one of your friends. The only difference is, that this time you will be speaking with no one else than God himself.
Because we should do it multiple times everyday, we might fall into the trap of simply repeating the same words over and over again around the same time everyday. We might mistakenly make prayer an act of satisfying our psychological need of feeling not guilty. I believe that the only time we should feel guilty is when we talk to God like robots, meaning that we tell Him the same exact thing we tell Him every single day.
God continually tells us in His word, that He wants to be our friend. Through Jesus He left us a model of prayer. He did not say we have to pray exactly like that every time, but He did leave us an example to know how to structure our prayer. And this prayer, does not last more than five minutes! but is made from the heart, it is very sincere, it is very honest, it is real conversation with our creator God. The prayer Jesus left us as an example goes like this:
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
10 Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
13 And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
That is the perfect way of praying, left to us by the perfect expression of God on Earth, Jesus Christ. It could be found in the Bible on Matthew 6:9-13.
That is all Jesus Himself said we need to pray like. He said in the verse right before the prayer (verse 5) for us to pray in that manner. Meaning that this is the guideline and we should adhere to it. This prayer is literally about two minutes long, but has great meaning, it has great depth, if coming from a humbled heart. God only cares about how sincere our prayer is, how deep and honest is our communication with Him. God does not have any time requirement, God does not have any word use requirement, God does not have a word count. He just wants us to speak to Him from our Hearts. That’s all.
Because of the nature of the structure of prayer, man, will, in his ignorance, quickly jump to the very common but mistaken conclusion of a prayer being a better prayer according to how long the prayer is. The misconception of using the length of the prayer as a measurement of its quality, is an awfully inaccurate misconception. God in no way, form, or manner, demands that we make a longer prayer in order to please Him. As a matter of fact, the opposite holds true, Because of the omniscience of Jesus (God on earth) He already knew that humans would quickly attempt to boast by making their prayers louder or longer. When In reality all God desires is a prayer coming from the heart.
Because of this knowledge coming from the Almighty, He left us a very powerful portion right above the model of the Lord’s prayer, so that we don’t fall victims to the traps of ignorance and misconceptions.
Jesus said: “And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 6 But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. 7 And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.“Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him. This is found in Matthew 6: 5-8
Pay very close attention, and engrave upon your heart verse 7, which says: And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.
Do not become one of those who destroys their whole lives, time, and energy, endlessly making vain repetitions. Because they come to believe the catastrophic misconception that God will listen to them because of their many words. And right after Jesus explains to us TO NOT BE LIKE THEM, He refreshes us with the common sense, and what should be a very basic, and very core, deep conviction on any Christian, the fact that we should not intend to say a million words because God already knows what we want to say before we even say it. As a matter of fact, before we even think of it He already knew it.
Also, Do not think that you will be able to persuade God, with certain words or with longer prayers. No. All God requires is that you go in secret, and make a prayer from your heart. A Nice Clear, honest, sincere prayer, which really comes from your heart. He does not care whether is long or short, He only looks at the intention of the Heart. So much so, that we have prayers of great men of God in the Bible which are ones and two liners. Others which are maybe two or three minutes. But they all come from the heart!
If you want to talk to Him a little longer you could, but remember that this WILL NOT make your prayer better or persuade God more. Like with any friend, This One being the most special Friend you’ll ever have, you could always talk for different time lengths, but every time you talk to them, you really do so sincerely. Same with God. Do not allow the prayer to become a robotic, mechanical act. Do not do it to fulfill a bad psychological habit. NO! Know and understand clearly what God Himself told us: Do not be rash with your mouth,
And let not your heart utter anything hastily before God.
For God is in heaven, and you on earth;
Therefore let your words be few.
3 For a dream comes through much activity,
And a fool’s voice is known by his many words. This is found on Ecclesiastes 5: 2-3.
Do not forget that you are on earth and God in in heaven. Do not forget that you are the human, you are not God! Do not forget that you do not pray to satisfy yourself, but rather to speak with your Creator. It should satisfy you, but it should not be done with the purpose of going through a ritual to check something off your to do list. Never!
Remember, God knows before you even speak, and Jesus left us a model because He knew many will come, as usual, with their own version filled with ignorance, mistakes, and misconceptions. Please do not waste you life going through vain repetitions. When you do that you are first of all Not Praying, and second of all destroying your precious time and energy!
A way to keep yourself from falling into the trap of vain repetition, and robotic habit, is by having different length in your prayers. Do not have the same length for your prayer every single time. Use different words, every time. Pray in different places every time. And be aware that you are not making yourself Robotic!
Finally, Remember! God already knows all of the prayers you will make through your life time, and The Holy Spirit intercedes for you when you don’t know how to explain or express it, don’t worry the Holy Spirit intercedes and God understands. Let praying be genuinely talking to God. It should not be burdensome, it should not imply a lot of activity, because as God says: a dream comes through much activity. And if you find yourself using way too many words, remember what God said: A fools voice is known by his many words.
In conclusion, you should be Listening to God, a lot more than you speak to God. Be wise! God already knows everything you will ever say, while you will never ever be finished with listening to All God wants to say to you. You can Listen to Him by reading the Bible! Remember! don’t let yourself fall into bad habit, mix it up, just like you would when talking to your friends, so that it never becomes neither monotone nor robotic. Hope this helps me as much as I hope it helps you. Hope your prayer life is transformed into a highly effective prayer life, and that God may provide you with the love, blessings, joy, peace, wisdom, happiness and protection that come when talking to God through prayer. God bless you, and wish you the best!