Prayer does not have to be eloquent; in fact, the Bible seems to teach the opposite, both in precept and in example. Psalm 17 is a wonderful example of short, ejaculatory prayers, where the Psalmist simply asks God to act with brief descriptive phrases.
God does not need our information to fill Him in on any emergency situation; He does not need our commentary to enlighten Him, our counsel to direct Him, or our wisdom to help Him. Let’s just be laying hold of Him for His help in time of need. Useless words or an over-abundant amount of words often cloud the simplify and reality of prayer. We have all probably felt the tension of some people praying with such detail, that one gets the feeling that 90% of the prayer is giving God information, educating Him about the details that He apparently doesn’t have.
Why do that? “Lord, Thou knowest.” That is all that is truly needed. Get down to business–cut to the chase. The Psalmist does this, when he gets down to asking what he desires for the Lord to actually do. How much of our praying is informing God needlessly and how much is actually asking Him to move and work? Hear the Psalmist–
“Give ear” (vs. 1) Just hear me, Lord; give me your attention. God is not hard of hearing or inattentive, but rather expressing this in prayer is actually the Psalmist’s help in focusing on the reality that God is hearing. It often quickens faith to consciously express, “Lord, hear me now; give ear, O Lord; I desire you to hear and answer.”
“Keep me” (vs. 8) An all-encompassing prayer; what all would this imply or include? The Psalmist doesn’t even know; it covers much and its application is far-reaching. But God knows how to apply such a prayer in whatever way is truly needed. “Keep me, Lord.”
“Hide me” (vs. 8) Hide me from what? From whatever I need to be hid from; God knows what that is; from sin, from evil men, from the way of the enemy, from traps, from what ails me spiritually, from what is not good for me. Hide me safe in that shelter of rest, hide me under the shadow of Thy wings. Hiding is the act of shielding and protecting. God is a great hiding place.
“Arise, O Lord” (vs. 13) Lord, it seems it is time for You to act. Arise, move, speak, work, intervene, and save. When God arises, anything can happen–an act of judgment or an act of deliverance and salvation. But when He arises, things always happen. He knows what He will do when He responds to the cries of one of HIs children–“Arise!”
“Deliver” (vs. 13) Deliver my life, deliver her, deliver him, deliver them, deliver our church from the enemy’s working; O, God, deliver us! What all must happen for deliverance to come? How can it happen and what will it take? It doesn’t matter; that is not for us to know. What is for us to know that we can and should call out for deliverance. Only God is the true Deliverer. David often called God his deliverer. David’s God is our God.
When will we actually believe that God knows our hearts, knows the situation, knows what needs to be done, and doesn’t need us to school him about everything? He knows, He loves, He is hearing us, He knows exactly how, when, and where to apply our praying in its answer. Our knowledge is not ultimately important at all for the answer to come. Our asking is what is important.
Short prayers are marvelous, often the most powerful prayers. Use them today in whatever way comes to mind; It is a glorious reality to realize that we don’t have to know all it would mean for God to give ear or keep or hide us, or to arise and deliver; let’s stop informing God with an over-abundance of details, and increase our humble importunity in pleading with Him through simplicity and faith. He hears when we call, even when it is short and sweet praying; in fact, especially when it is short and sweet praying.
– Mack Tomlinson