Praying Short Prayers

Lord, bless this message. Amen.

There are some long, beautiful prayers in the Bible. And I know people who like to pray long prayers. I’ve written some long prayers that we pray, like “The Faithful Know” and “HaShana.” However, when I’m praying by myself, I don’t like praying long prayers. I like short prayers.

The Lord likes them too. Ecclesiastes 5:2: Do not be quick with your mouth or hasty in your heart to bring anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few.

God is great and high and wise and powerful and you are not. God knows what is best in every situation and you don’t. So, let your words to Him be few. Bring your concern to Him with a few words. Keep your prayers short and sweet.

Most of us have a job or tasks we have to do each day that require concentration. It’s hard to pray long prayers when we are concentrating on work. Martha and I read the Bible and pray together in the morning. Our prayers are longer. But during the rest of the day, what works best for me are short prayers interspersed with my tasks.

Nehemiah, great man of God, having the high and trusted office of cupbearer of the mighty king of Persia, and also governor of regathered Israel, did the same thing. He prayed for long periods of time and he prayed long prayers – see chapter one. However, throughout the rest of his book which records the history of the regathering, he interspersed short prayers. And I’m sure the way he wrote his book was the way he lived his life.

Some examples:

Chapter 2: I was serving the king his wine. I had never before appeared sad in his presence. So the king asked me, “Why are you looking so sad? You don’t look sick to me. You must be deeply troubled.” Then I was terrified, but I replied, “Long live the king! How can I not be sad? For the city where my ancestors are buried is in ruins, and the gates have been destroyed by fire.” The king asked, “Well, how can I help you?” With a prayer to the God of heaven (and that had to be a very short prayer, since he was in a conversation with the king), I replied, “If it please the king, and if you are pleased with me, your servant, send me to Judah to rebuild the city where my ancestors are buried.”

Chapter 5: Remember, O my God, all that I have done for these people, and bless me for it.

Chapter 6 Remember, O my God, all the evil things that Tobiah and Sanballat have done. And remember Noadiah the prophet and all the prophets like her who have tried to intimidate me.

Chapter 13: Remember this good deed, O my God, and do not forget all that I have faithfully done for the Temple of my God and its services.

Paul did the same thing. Frequently, at the beginning of his letters, and in the middle and at the end, he interspersed short prayers.

Some examples:

Romans 1: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Yeshua the Messiah.

Romans 11: All glory to him forever! Amen.

Romans 15: May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 16: All glory to the only wise God, through Messiah Yeshua, forever. Amen.

Ephesians 1: May God our Father and the Lord Yeshua the Messiah give you grace and peace.

Ephesians 3: I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources the Father will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit …

And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Messiah, though it is too great to understand fully. Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the community of called out ones and in Messiah Yeshua through all generations forever and ever! Amen.

Ephesians 6: Peace be with you, dear brothers and sisters, and may God the Father and the Lord Yeshua the Messiah give you love with faithfulness. May God’s grace be eternally upon all who love our Lord Yeshua the Messiah.

Some other examples of short prayers:

Peter, while he was walking on water but then started to sink: Lord, save me.

Revelation 22: The second to last verse of Revelation: Amen! Come, Lord Yeshua! Followed by the last verse of the Bible – another short prayer: May the grace of the Lord Yeshua be with God’s holy people.

Luke 18: Yeshua’s teaching on pride versus humility: Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a despised tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer: “I thank you, God, that I am not like other people – cheaters, sinners, adulterers. I’m certainly not like that tax collector! I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income. But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, “God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.” That’s a short prayer. The Son of God taught us that the short prayer of the tax collector, combined with his humility, was enough for God to hear and answer his prayer.

Some examples of my short prayers:

Hi there Lord.

Thank you Lord.

Lord, help.

Prayers when I’m taking a walk and appreciating God’s creative power:

Lord, You are so cool.

You are a great God and King.

You are a great artist.

Lord, You do good work.

Ecclesiastes 5:2: Do not be quick with your mouth or hasty in your heart to bring anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few.

Lord, help us learn to pray without ceasing, praying short prayers throughout the day. Amen.