The greatly maligned short prayer! Is it really legit?
When we need help, we should ask for it. If we only ask for help, something has got to be wrong. What kind of friend only pops up to scream out for help? The mooching kind, perhaps?
Yet, I’m here today to give you the good news that a short prayer to God for help, is not a prayer in vain. A sincere plea for God’s rescue or mercy is something that God has honored to seeking petitioners in the Scriptures.
The shortest prayer recorded is from Jesus’ disciple who feared drowning–Just 3 words:
“Lord, save me,” Simon Peter. (Matt 14.30)
In reality, a saving prayer is the most important kind.
This tells us something about the benevolence of the Living God. Pagan gods of old needed much formality, and a host of preparatory rituals, and highly respectful observances, and rites so the petitioner could escape enormous fury from the deity. Yes, (false) deities are a lot like people when it comes to wanting plenty of respect. The Living God–the One who hands down deserves the utmost respect–in an unexpected twist, accepts “prayers on the fly”. What a gracious and humble God.
Another short and ancient Christian prayer came to be a Western staple after being mentioned its importance to the Eastern Desert monks, by the Abba Isaac of Scete, as written in The Conferences by St. John Cassian. I highly suggest reading this interesting and enlightening devotional classic. (click link) The power of this short prayer, and its uses are fleshed out very well.
Here’s a tiny portion: In order that the vigour of this courage may, by God’s grace, continue in me still longer, I must cry out with all my powers, “O God, make speed to save me: O Lord, make haste to help me.”
I’ve also thanked God with short prayers. What short prayers have you used?
…Out of curiousity-How often do you say short prayers? (once per hour? per day? per week?)
…Or what % of your prayer life might be of this brief sort?
Your responses are valuable. Thank you!