How Long Does Prayer Have to Be?

How many times have you heard people pray? and pray…and pray…and pray…and pray!  “Father God” this, and “Father God” that, and “Father God”, and (more) “Father God”.

I think He knows who you are talking to.

I also think that prayer doesn’t have to be long and drawn out to be effective. In fact, in Numbers (B’Midbar) 12:13, when Miryam was struck with leprosy, here was Moshe’s big sister, who risked her life following him down the Nile (Nile Crocodiles bask on the river’s edge, where she was walking, and they can get to be 12 feet long and weigh over a ton- yes, she risked her life for him) and when he saw her, white as death, did he cry out in a long and Shakespearean manner? No, he simply said, “Oh Lord, please heal her!” That was it. Five words and God said He would heal her.

Solomon made a long and beautiful prayer when he dedicated the Temple. Even though it was long, it was inclusive of what he was asking for- that God not just bless and sanctify the house they made for His presence, but that in the future when Jews all over the world prayed in the direction of the Temple (prophetic, wasn’t it?) that God listen. And Solomon went through the different problems we may have to cause us to pray to God for relief. That was what most of the prayer was about, which is why I said it was inclusive.

We don’t need to pray until we run out of things to say. I hear, so often (haven’t you?) people searching for things to add. It’s sad, to me. Why can’t they have the faith that God knows what we want, and just ask for that? If we were to intercede for everyone we know, and ask for everything that we think God would want us to ask for, we won’t have time to live any of it. When Yeshua taught us how to pray (Matthew 6:11) He said to just ask for our daily bread. If I can make a quickie Drash on this, I would say it’s not just today’s bread we should ask for, trusting in Ha Shem (God, or literally ‘The Name”) to provide for tomorrow when it comes, but that we should only ask for what is needed, now. With prayer, that means don’t go on and on, asking for this person, and that person, and for this, and for that, ad infinitum. Just use the KISS rule: Keep It Simple, Schlemiel!  Pray about what is most important to you. Yeshua also tells us later in Matthew that God knows what we need and what we want.

Personally, I think he wants us to pray, even though He knows what we want, so we can show not just faithful belief that He is listening, but to show that we can be humble in our requests, and that we don’t ask for everything to make ourselves look “holy”. I am not holy, you are not holy. God says to “be thou holy, for I am holy” but it is not possible for humans. That isn’t so much a command as a goal. We can reach it, but only thanks to Yeshua and the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) that dwells in those who have accepted God’s gift of Grace.

Well, I would be a hypocrite if I kept on at this topic any longer. Keep your prayer simple, keep it honest, and if you don’t find the words coming easily and on their own, stop.

When I pray what is truly on my heart, I cry. If you pray and find yourself crying, well, THAT’S what I’m talkin’ about!!

Comments welcomed (just be nice)