by John E. Haggai
A certain man spent six hours in prayer each day. To prevent himself from falling asleep, he would stand up and lean against a rope. If he fell asleep, he would fall.
What sort of prayer did he speak?
He kept on repeating, “There is no God, but God. There is no God, but God.” He repeated the same thing over and over again. He did not plead with God to give him anything; he simply repeated the words like a mantra.
In spite of his dedication, that was not prayer. If you get on your knees and simply repeat a certain formula, you are only speaking words. You are not praying.
Protestants have sometimes criticized Christians from other traditions for using written books or prayers or rosaries. But there are many Protestants who have reduced prayer to something entirely formulaic. They say prayers as did the farmer who each night prayed, “O Lord, bless me, my wife, my son John, his wife, us four, no more. Amen.”
God does not hear you for your much speaking.
On Mount Carmel, the wild-eyed prophets of Baal cut their flesh and chanted repetitiously, “O Baal, hear us!” They were not praying. The Bible tells us to make our requests known to God.
So get alone with God and tell Him what you want. Pour out your heart before Him. He does not care for high-flown language. Study the prayers of the Bible and you will be impressed by their unadorned directness. People simply spoke to God. So go to God as you go to your mother, your father, or your friend.
And don't assume God will dissipate your worries just because you get on your knees for a spell every morning and night. Pray intelligently. Tell God your problem. Tell Him that you have sinned, that you have worried. Tell Him that you want victory over it.