Sunday, October 19, 2014
QUANTITY OR QUALITY?
Dearly Beloved, QUANTITY OR QUALITY? "And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him" (Matthew 6:7-8 NIV). A pastor-colleague who visited my family early in the morning on day for an important assignment met us having our family devotions. After the worship service, he enquired from me about the normal duration of our daily family devotions. I told him that I do not care about the time, but the quality of the devotions. He then shared with me his experience with somebody that came to him for prayers. When he used a certain number of minutes in praying for the person, the person was surprised that the prayer session was over so soon. He then asked the person the number of minutes or hours he believes it would take a curse invoked on another person to take effect. The person believed that a curse that is less than a minute could be of eternal consequence on the person it was invoked. The pastor and I then discussed briefly about the quality and quantity of time to be spent for a prayer to be effectual. Some people are of the opinion that the longer the prayer, the more effective it is, or the more you repeat the same request at a particular time, the sooner God answers such request. This has made many people to engage themselves in unnecessary long prayers, saying of the same thing for a number of time, marathon prayer sessions, all-night prayer vigils, and so on so that God would quickly answer their prayers. Some Christian denominations and some religions even adapt a way of using kinds of tool to aid them in repeating their prayers in a particular number of times. Most of these beliefs and practices are contrary to the teachings of the Bible about prayer. What matter most in our prayers is the quality, not quantity, of time we spend in saying the prayers. A Bible commentator says, "Christ does not fix the length of our prayers. He says that we should not repeat the same thing, as though God did not hear; and it is not improbable that he intended to condemn the practice of long prayers. His own supplications were remarkably short." Let me point it out here that I am not talking about perseverance in requesting something from God - a situation where one persistently continues to ask for a particular thing from God until God answers the prayer (as Jesus Christ taught it in Luke 18:1-7). The Bible teaches that we should pray all the time (Luke 18:1; 21:36; Romans 12:12; Ephesians 6:18; Colossians 4:2). The question then is what matter most in our prayer? Is it the quality or the quantity of time we spend to say it? This is a question that we must answer as we go to the Lord in prayers. In His service, Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor).