Pray without ceasing, we are told. And those are good words. If you think it, pray it! When something I am thankful for comes to mind, why not stop and say thank you? And when it comes to worrying things, I am trying to go more quickly to God with those. Early and often.
But there comes in point for me when I am praying “continually” about something that I am no longer like the man in the parable who keeps knocking on his neighbor’s door at midnight, knowing eventually his neighbor will get up just to quiet him. There is a point when I drift from this to the person who babbles on and on “thinking he will be heard because of his many words.” Two different scriptures about prayer.. where one stops and the other begins is a mystery.
But I am starting to sense when that is for me. When my prayers of pleading in faith become prayers of OCD-like repetition, or with the thought that maybe God forgot, or that he won’t hear me until I’ve said it x number of times – when I sense I have reached that point I have to step back a moment and pray something else. The thing I was bringing to God has to be put aside, and I have to remember who is it I am praying to. Is it a little man in my brain? No. I am praying to God. My Father in Heaven. Maker of Heaven and Earth…
And I am comforted in remembering God’s power and God’s love. His arm is not too short to save! I can hope in him and that is not a foolish hope.
When Paul was saying goodbye to his friends in Ephesus, thinking he would never see them again, he said, “Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you and inheritance among all those who are sanctified.” There is a point in my praying that I have to give up the thing I am praying about and commit it to God. “Here it is, God… it’s all you at this point!” or “There you have it, God. Imma let you take it from here…” Words of that nature.
When I’m worried, going to God in prayer more quickly is always a good thing. But sometimes the bigger act of faith is getting to the “amen” at the end.