One of the major talks surrounding the art of prayer in our day and time is the question of how many hours one spends praying?
Oftentimes this question has caused many persons to fall into the error of praying to prove a point and when the point gets proven, arrogance steps in.
The big question is that should prayers be about the number of hours spent? Are the numbers of hours spent in prayer as important as prayers itself?
To answer this question, it is important to examine what prayer is about. Prayer in the light of this article is the art of communicating with God in a bid to receive response and results.
Simply put, prayer is an art of communing with God and this communion must find worthy results. Effective prayer is a means to an end and that end as I will show you from scriptures can be summed up into:
- Spiritual building
- Answers from God
- Spiritual warfare
- Tabling requests
The above points are a summary of what prayer is expected to accomplish. Let me walk you through some scriptures.
Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not. – Jeremiah 33:3
Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. – Matthew 7:7-8
And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.
For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent?
Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?
If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him? – Luke 11:9-13
And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment was white and glistering. – Luke 9:29
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; – Ephesians 6:12,13,18
Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. – Philippians 4:6
Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months.
And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit. – James 5:17-18
Jeremiah 33:3, Matthew 7:7, and Luke 11:9-13 show us that when we pray, God is obligated to answer. From this, we can deduce that one of the ends of effective prayer is answers.
Luke 9:29 shows us that prayer when done effectively transforms us. The transformation Apostle Paul spoke about in Romans 12:2 is possible when we pray.
Prayer is also a means to table our requests to God telling Him of our challenges, fears, worries, needs, and the things that bother us as we see in Philippians 4:6.
Spiritual warfare as we can see from Ephesians 6:12,13, and 18 can be carried out by prayers. Furthermore, we can entrench judgment and God's will on the Earth as Elijah exemplified in James 5:1-18.
In whatever form or manner, effective prayer has a goal and the goal is to come to a definite result. I know that it is not all prayers that find answers. Such prayers teach us to trust God and rely on His timing.
Effective prayers always have a definite result. Either you are getting answers, being transformed, engaging in spiritual warfare, building your spirit man, or learning patience by depending and trusting in God.
There is nowhere prayers are seen as a means to prove a point. Nowhere!
We do not pray because we want to let people know that we are prayerful. We do not pray so we can tell others how many hours we pray.
According to 1 Thessalonians 5:17, the Bible says
Pray without ceasing. – 1 Thessalonians 5:17
Ceasing is ceasing. There is no time when we can say we have prayed enough. If you prayer for hours, that is good, keep praying.
Prayer for us is not a show-off. Luke 18:1 makes us understand that prayer should be our lifestyle – like oxygen to drive our lives.
We are not praying by our energy hence there is no room to boast about it. Take a look at Romans 8:26
Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
We do not know how to pray because we can speak in tongues or are masters of the English language and can gather vocabulary and grammar to pray to God.
Prayer is a spiritual activity and its prosecution must be governed and supervised by a Spirit. It is the Spirit of God that supervises and governs prayers.
Therefore to pray effectively, we must depend on the Spirit and have Him assist us while we pray. Only when we pray in the Spirit, by the help of the Spirit, and under the supervision of the Spirit can our prayers be effective.
So when we pray, we do not boast as it is not a function of our strength. It is a function of Spirit-propelled energy.
I am not in any way talking down on long hours of prayers. It is very important to pray for long hours. My point is we do not pray for long hours to prove a point.
On a final note, prayer is not about the number of hours (even though long prayers are important). It is a means to an end one that should find worthy results and not just a point-proving endeavor.
Pray without ceasing.
Pray till God answers.
Pray to transformation.
Pray to build your spirit.
Pray to win invisible battles.
Pray to engage and win spiritual warfare.
Do not pray to prove a point.
Do not pray to show you can pray for long hours.