Keep Prayer Simple

The following is from my upcoming book, One-Minute Devotions on Prayer:

“And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they’ll be heard because of their many words.” (Matthew 6:7)

When teaching about prayer, Jesus instructs us to keep prayer simple. But how easy it is to complicate! We worry about placing the “right” words in the “right” places, saying holy statements that sound good, not praying for too long or too short—oh my, what’s the right amount of time?

And as a result, we stress about prayer like we’re being judged by our performance. But all along, Jesus wants us to keep our prayers simple. He’s not impressed by bigger words, longer prayers, or professional-sounding speech. And he’s not turned off by our ums, uhs or stutters. Why?


Because Jesus is more interested in you! When I’m with my children, I’m not judging their speech or critiquing the conversation. Instead, I’m listening to them and enjoying my time with them.

Did you ever notice that the better you get to know someone, the simpler the conversation gets? We tend to be more formal with strangers and less formal with our friends and family. Jesus says it’s the pagans—those who don’t know

Jesus—who babble on. But the ones who know him—those he calls family—have no need for complexity.

Let’s pray: “Jesus, thank you that we’re family and prayer can be simple. Help me to relax when I pray and know that most of all, you’re interested in me.”

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