Prayer-Prolonging Procrastination Power

 

“And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly.”
(Luke 18:7-8)

Let’s have a little chat about your area of greatest prayer-guilt: the length of your prayers.

I know, I know – you pray often. Sure you do. Usually, about a thimbleful.

You try to reduce your guilt by clinging to Jesus’ famous quote, in Matthew 6:7:

“And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.”

That’s sure not your problem, though, is it? In fact, if “many words” were required to be heard, your answers would come few and far between, wouldn’t they — say, once a decade?

Plus, you’re too smart to misuse the verse that way. For one thing, you can tell at a glance that rather than commanding that we pray only short prayers, Jesus is teaching against “babbling,” or meaningless prayers. What’s more, you know the kind of example Jesus Himself set:

“One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God.”
(Luke 6:12)

And then there’s that troubling verse in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 that tells you to –

“pray continually.”

Yeah, right. Something down deep tells you that a dozen sentence-prayers scattered throughout the day might not exactly qualify for obedience to that command.

Truth be told, the passage that may best describe what Jesus would have to say about your prayer life is Mark 14:37, when, in the Garden of Gethsemene, Jesus, who was facing imminent death, begged his disciples to watch and pray with Him:

“Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. ‘Simon,’ he said to Peter, ‘are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour?’”

No wonder so few congregations sing the old hymn, “Sweet Hour of Prayer” anymore. Nobody in the church has a clue what the song writer is talking about.

And yet, an hour of prayer is sweet. Indescribably so.

At least once, before you shrivel up and die, you ought to try it. You probably already want to, if only to be able to say you actually did it. The question is, how?

You’re going to love this one

Have I got a secret for you: Unleash the power of procrastination! All you have to do is schedule some essential task you really despise…to be started on right after you finish praying.

Ha! You’ll pray on and on!

Why, with that dreaded task waiting to attack you the moment you say, “Amen,” you’ll come up with prayer topics and depths of insight you never delved into before. Armed with this secret, people who have never been able to go beyond sixty consecutive seconds of prayer in their lives have been known to move into the sixty-minute category in their very first session.

You might even get to praying about how much you despise the task you’re dreading. Having unloaded that emotional burden, you might dare to ask God to give you understanding into this dysfunctional part of your deviant personality.

God might actually show you how to crack the foundation of this stronghold in your life and beat it. Or He might grant you the wisdom to find the perfect person to whom you can delegate it. As a last ditch deal, God might even send someone along to do this dreaded task for you while you’re praying!

Who knows? It could happen.

If you pray long enough.

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Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. NIV®. Copyright© 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

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