Can Shorter Prayers Be Better?

When it comes to prayer, according to Martin Luther, the shorter, the better.

In Taking Hold of God: Reformed and Puritan Perspectives on Prayer, Brian G. Najapfour quotes Luther:

“Our prayer must have few words, but be great and profound in content and meaning. The fewer the words, the better the prayer; the more words, the poorer the prayer. Few words and richness of meaning is Christian; many words and lack of meaning is pagan.”

This quote reminded me of what Jesus said in Matthew 6:7, “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words.”

As we prepare to lead our people in prayer this Sunday, let’s not heap up empty Christian phrases for the sake of sounding spiritual or extending the length of our prayer. Instead, offer rich prayers and “let your words be few” (Ecclesiastes 5:2).

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