Matthew 6:7 "But when you pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking."

Many Christians struggle with their prayer lives. In my opinion the difficulty stems from the fact that our flesh fights against the Spirit (Gal. 5:17). Often we feel convicted regarding our prayer lives mainly because we sense that we need to spend more time in prayer.

This may be true, but just how much time should we spend praying anyway? After all, didn't the Apostle Paul say "pray without ceasing" (1 Thess. 5:17). Does that mean we should never stop praying? I don't think so. I think what Paul was saying is that we ought to have a lifestyle that incorporates prayer.

So how much or how long should we pray? Presumably, the amount of time we should spend in prayer all depends on how much we have to say to God or how much He has to say to us at any given time. I love to spend lengthy time in prayer when I can afford to do that or when the Spirit leads me to it, however, praying a long time just to say "I've prayed long, I've put in my time, I've done my duty" seems to devalue the time spent. Sometimes when we pray our minds will wander and so we have to wonder if that's the best use of that time.

The point I'm trying to make is that there is no reason to believe that there is less power in a shorter prayer than in a long one. When Jesus taught His disciples to pray, He actually taught them a very short prayer.

He said, "After this manner therefore pray: “Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever.” (Matthew 6:9-13) Amen.

The fact that Jesus taught them this short prayer immediately after His statement saying we should NOT pray as the some people do thinking that a lot of words are somehow more spiritual than less words, suggests to me that there can indeed be great power and strong potency in a shorter prayer.

Nehemiah seemed to have a very healthy prayer life, yet his prayers that are recorded for us seem to be made up mostly of shorter sentences offered up to God spontaneously at various times. He prayed while working on the wall or during negotiations with his enemies; he would often just stop what he was doing and speak to God.

Now, it is true that God could call you to pray for a lengthy period time. There were times when God called Israel to pray and fast for a certain period of time on special occasions. So, it is possible that God could call individuals or churches to pray for a particular period of time, but we should never turn our prayer life into a legalistic religious ritual as there is no certain amount of time in which we are required to pray set forth in the Bible.

Our prayers are to be regular communication and conversation with God made up of respectful requests for ourselves and for others. Our prayers are to be confessions and praises made and given for the purpose of seeking His forgiveness, care, guidance and will in all things.

So, take time throughout your day to speak to God and let your prayers rise as a sweet smelling incense before the Lord! And...