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Some of the best prayers are also the shortest

By Terry - Posted on 12 March 2010

I think one of my favourite prayers in the Bible is also one of the shortest.  

In Matthew 14 we are told the story of Jesus spending a lengthy amount of time praying.  

He had just fed the 5000 and felt the time was right to be alone with the Father so "he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray"(v23). 

We're not told what he prayed or the length of the prayers themselves. We have no clue as to how the prayers were formulated, liturgical or extempore, and we don't know if he prayed out loud or silently.

We do know one thing; he was at it a long time. "When evening came, he was there alone" (v23) we read.  

Jesus comes off the mountain and decides to catch up with the disciples who, by this time, are well out onto the sea of Galilee in their boat. 

This is the setting for one of Jesus' most famous miracles; walking on water. Jesus head out on foot right across the top or the H2O, defying the laws of physics all the way. 

When Jesus gets near the disciples, they are shaken. 

"It's a ghost," they said, and cried out in fear.(v26) 

At this point Peter, never one to shy away from ground breaking experiences, decides it's time to join Jesus. 

28"Lord, if it's you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water." 29"Come," he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!" (Matthew 14:28-30) 

It's the shortest prayer in the Bible. And one of the most effective too! Peter enjoyed an instant answer to that prayer, but the Bible does not say your experience in prayer will be the same. 

But I think it is encouraging the same attitude. "Lord, save me!" is pretty much the first prayer you should ever pray. For without salvation there is no genuine relationship with God the Father. And without that, there is no effective prayer, no matter how many flowery words you add into the mix. 

Remember the Pharisee and the tax collector? Prayers don’t have to be long. They don’t have to be well written or prepared in advance. They don’t have to be spontaneous. They can use many words or a few words. 

But they must come from the heart. For if your heart is right with God, your prayers will be too.


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