When I was a student one of the things that drove me crazy was when someone was asking a question but never getting to the point. They would ramble one and on about matters peripheral to their point but never actually get to the crux of the matter. Sometimes it seemed that they were more interested in demonstrating the limited knowledge that they had rather than asking a real question that could possible add to their store of knowledge! This wasted not just their own time, but the lecturer and all the rest of the students’ time as well.

I think we do well to get to the point when we pray. Yes, prayer is all about a relationship and so there is a certain leeway afforded to us in this regard, however, we should be careful not to lose our way in the midst of a lot of peripheral words when a few will suffice to get our point across to God. There is no point in multiplying the words we use for the sake of length as this only wastes our time.

Jesus teaches His disciples to pray with a prayer that encapsulates our relationship with God in a clear and succinct form. The Jews of the day had many long rituals attached to their prayers and so the brevity of what Jesus teaches His disciples must have come as a big surprise to them. One of the dangers we face with devotional type prayers is that we get caught up in the ritual and lose sight of the relationship that is at the heart of prayer. Let us not make the same mistake that the Pharisees made!

Prayer is our lifeline to God. When a person is being saved from drowning or some other type of emergency situation we do not waste time in saving them – we get straight to the point and do exactly what is necessary to achieve our purpose in as short a time as possible. If we delay we may risk not being able to save the person. Time is of the essence and so we do not waste any more than is absolutely necessary. I think that it is good for us to keep this in mind at times, especially when our prayers seem to be getting bogged down in words and ritual. Let us refresh our relationship with God and ‘renovate’ our prayer life so to speak! Relationships change over time and so the way we pray or relate to God will also change.

What is the state of my prayer life at the moment? Is it alive or deadly boring? Am I always falling asleep or am I attentive in prayer? These are some good indicators of the health of our prayer life.

Lord Jesus, you taught your disciples to pray when they asked you to do so. Help me to learn how to pray as well. Send your Holy Spirit to guide me along the path of prayer that will best suit my character and spirit so that I can maintain constant and vibrant contact with you.