I hear the stories of Spurgeon and Luther with their hours of prayer, and Susanna Wesley praying in her kitchen with her apron over her head, surrounded by children. I have enjoyed long seasons of prayer with colleagues and church family. During one such service, I got to thinking about the contrast of short, fervent pleas recorded in Scriptures, you know, like the ones that sometimes squeeze out between our tears.
Here are a few short prayers from the Gospels:
- Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner. Luke 18:13
- Have mercy on us, Son of David. Matthew 20:31
- Lord, help me. Matthew 15:25
- Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom. Luke 23:39-43
- Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. . .Lord, do not hold this sin against them. Acts 7:59-60
As I have thought about these, three quick considerations about prayer, whether short or long, emerge.
Each of the supplicants recognized Jesus. They saw who He was and addressed him as Lord.
All of the prayers flowed from humility. Each of these pray-ers approached Jesus publicly, out of their brokenness. I am particularly struck by the Canaanite mother who, even in the middle of the disapproving disciples, fell at His feet, in her agony reasoning that He could heal her daughter.
The pray-ers trusted Jesus. They believed that He could, that He would act on their behalf. They requested physical healing, spiritual care, and eternal preservation, believing that Jesus was capable and willing to respond.
And as we march into Passion Week, I also think of the crowds lining the streets of Jerusalem, hailing Jesus’ arrival with perhaps the shortest prayer: “Hosanna.”
“Hosanna to the Son of David.”
All photos used from www.BiblePlaces.com.