Written on October 4th, 2012,
Jesus was teaching his followers in the Sermon on the Mount when He spoke these words which are recorded in Matthew 6 verse 7:
And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.
Jesus was talking about prayers that really amount to nothing more than rituals. Ritual prayer can mean repeating certain phrases over and over, or reciting some prayer from memory in such a way that it really doesn’t help a person connect with God in a personal way. According to what Jesus taught, people who pray like are just babbling.
Jesus was not in any way suggesting we should limit our prayer time, or just pray short, brief prayers. When we as believers genuinely seek to make that connection with God, we pray as the Holy Spirit leads us and this might mean praying for an hour, or praying for a few seconds.
I prayed one of the latter a few years ago. In the spring of 2008, I learned that my former son-in-law was being deployed to Iraq. Being that he’s the father of my oldest grandson, I said a brief prayer on his behalf. I simply asked God to protect him and keep him safe while he was in Iraq. If that little prayer lasted ten seconds, it would be a stretch. It was probably more like five seconds. But what power there was in that prayer!
A few weeks after being deployed, I learned that he had been wounded in action. He was riding in a Bradley personnel carrier when it was hit by a rocket propelled grenade. The Bradley is a very lightly armored vehicle and usually when one of those takes that kind of hit, the survival rate for the soldiers riding inside is very, very low. On this day however, everyone inside this particular Bradley survived. There were injuries, but no one died. And as I learned later, the RPG hit the Bradley right beside the fuel tank.
My former son-in-law suffered second and third degree burns over a large percentage of his body and he was evacuated to Germany. From there, he was sent to Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio for further treatment and rehabilitation. UPDATE: He fully recovered and remained on active duty at Fort Hood until he retired in October of 2014.
When I heard he had been wounded in action in the early summer of 2008, I instantly recalled that short little prayer I prayed for him a few weeks earlier. It was a short yet very powerful prayer. I will go to my grave believing that this young man’s life was saved by the power of that brief and short little prayer! And, of course, more than anything else, by the power of God!