It was June of 1998. Alvin VanderGriend was sharing for a few minutes at an IRM facilitators gathering at Cannon Beach. I am guessing he shared for about 7 or 8 minutes. It was very simple, and it changed my life. What I took away from those few minutes was the appropriateness of repeated prayer.
Based upon 1 John 5:14-15, if we pray according to His will he will not only hear us but answer us. Alvin shared that he became convinced (among other things) that it was God will that he become a man of prayer. So, he prayed a short, pointed prayer over and over. As he shared that story, I knew this is something God wanted me to do. So, over the next three months or so, I prayed this simple prayer, “Lord, make me a man of prayer” probably about 1,000 time. Many times each day. Sometimes out loud, sometimes in my heart. But each time, I meant it.
In September of that year I remember looking back and knowing that “something is different about my prayer life.” Fourteen months later I was asked to become the director of IRM – am internationally recognized prayer ministry.
Since then, I have seen that Paul evidently prayed in a similar manner – he would often “make mention” of people in his prayers. These were not long prayers. They were brief and to the point. In Nehemiah 2:4-5 – after a lengthy prayer in chapter 1 – Nehemiah “prayed to the God of heaven, and answered the king.” No time for a lengthy prayer here.
And Jesus, in Gethsemane, repeated one of His most intense prayers three times in about an hour (Matthew 26:44).
One other note. Jesus’ instruction in Matthew 6:7 regarding not depending on “many words” is addressing meaningless repetition, not meaningful repetition. In fact, on several occasions, Jesus teaches us to pray repeatedly – Matthew 7:7, Luke 11:8, Luke 18:1&7.
After fifty years (literally) of praying for my mom’s salvation, my prayers had gotten weak and stale. So, my brother, sister and I joined on a conference call every Monday evening to intensify our prayer. After only 100 calls, she did pray and ask Jesus to forgive her of her sins!
Do you know something to be God’s will that is not yet taking place? Pray – simply, directly and repeatedly. He will hear you and answer you.
(From Impact! October 2011)