Some are gifted with the ability to say lengthy, beautiful, moving prayers. That’s not me. I tend to get right to the point and keep it simple. The bible says to pray without ceasing, so you might think short prayers will be found lacking, but I don’t think so. My favorite bible prayers are short. I’ll start with one that is seven words long.
Luke 18: 10-14 Jesus told this parable: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself. ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men – robbers, evildoers, adulterers – or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God.
He was so ashamed of his sinful state that he wouldn’t even look up. In his prayer, he gets right to the point. His words remind me of a letter. He starts with whom he’s addressing, “God.” Next, is the meat of the letter – the point he wants to get across. “Have mercy on me.” That’s all he wants – not riches, health or fame. He just wants to confess his sin and receive God’s mercy. I bet God loves these prayers and instantly grants their request. Then he signs his letter with “A Sinner.” He doesn’t use his name. He ends with how he sees himself. The good news is that this man left justified. Hallelujah!
The next example is even shorter. It has zero words.
Romans 8: 26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.
I’ve heard of people who have been suffering or depressed in such a degree (whether it’s spiritual, physical or psychological) that they can’t even focus or wrap their head around forming the right words to say or pray. They just fall to their knees in agony. The bible says that in these instances the Holy Spirit takes over for us and he prays for us with groans that words cannot express. God, the Father, understands that language. Jesus knows suffering too and he’s there with us. I find this amazing and comforting to know that, when needed, the Holy Spirit will be our prayer warrior and pray for us. I’m sure he can express what we need and are thinking better than we can!
I also feel that this goes for those that are mentally challenged and can’t even express themselves. I picture the Holy Spirit praying for them all the time and I know that he somehow communicates to them that they’re not alone and comforts them.
What an amazing God we have!
The next one, some might say isn’t a prayer. It’s the thief on the cross talking to Jesus, but that’s what prayer is; having a conversation with God. No, he didn’t fold his hands or kneel (he couldn’t). He didn’t close his eyes. (You don’t have to). He had his Savior right next to him so of course he would want to look at him.
The thief started out hurling insults at Jesus just like the other thief, but somewhere through it all, he began to realize this guy was not an ordinary guy. Jesus was being crucified on the cross, yet he wasn’t cussing or swearing. He prayed to his Father to forgive them. He also thought of his mother and gave John, his disciple, the responsibility and honor to look after her. Through all the pain, he was thinking of others. This is what the bible says about the thief’s last conversation on this earth.
Luke 23: 42-43 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth today, you will be with me in paradise.”
When the thief mentions his kingdom, he is acknowledging that Jesus is a king and he was going to his kingdom (heaven). Basically, he was stating that Jesus was God.
Jesus tells him that he will be with him in paradise. Those are beautiful words that he needed to hear. He calls heaven paradise, which would lead the thief to think ahead to how wonderful it would be there. Those words had to help him as he endured those last excruciating moments of his life.
Your prayers are treasured by God. They don’t have to be long or eloquent. You can talk out loud to God or say your prayers in your head. My favorite time to talk to him is when I’m alone in my car, but anytime, anywhere is good.
Don’t make prayer complicated. Just talk to him like a friend.
1 John 5: 14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.