In the past week, I read with a little confliction the conversation going on online about something a well-respected and humble Man of God said about the qualities men should look out for before choosing a wife. This piece will focus on what he said about not marrying a woman who can’t pray for a particular duration. Let me say first that I did not attend the event where he made the statement so this article is based on a second, third or even fourth-hand report. Also, this man of God is someone I deeply respect and have no doubt whatsoever that he is one of God’s great generals in the Christian-dom. In this regard, I will be choosing my words very carefully; I won’t be found guilty of doing God’s anointed any harm.
To bring things into perspective, let me summarize what I read, he said (among other things) “… Marry a warrior, if a girl cannot pray for one hour, don’t marry her…”. Other versions said she has to be able to pray for one hour non-stop. While I believe that the place of prayer cannot be overemphasized in the life of a believer (whether man or woman), I do not totally agree with this statement. I am making a point, please stay with me.
What is prayer?
Prayer is communicating with God. Simple. Communication is a two-way street. A message is encoded on one end and decoded at the other. There is no communication if this process fails at any point. This is exactly what Prayer is. In Prayer God is the constant party in the communication loop.
Prayer – as a two-way communication with God
Not too long ago, my pastor brought to perspective the practicality of prayer. He asked who (among the congregation) will love to spend time with a family member or friend who when they speak to us, list out their request or things they are thankful for without waiting to hear us speak to them? Well, no one raised their hands. That pretty much sums up what prayer is for most of us. We take on our favorite prayer position, then follow a script, we end our requests with the usual ‘in Jesus Name’, get up and leave. How about waiting to hear God speak back to us? Why are we so much in a hurry to check the box that we did carry out our daily prayer routine? It has become a duty, a chore and more so if we are being told it has to be for not less than one hour.
For some, it has become an art at which they compete with others. You will hear them boast about how long they can pray. When they receive answers to a particular request, their testimonies are usually dosed with how hard and long they prayed. It has become more about the prayer skill than about the love, power and mercy of God.
Its all about Fellowship
God wants to fellowship with His children, individually and collectively. He wants to build a relationship with you. And the only way to do that is by communicating with you in the place of prayer. This may be the reason Apostle Paul admonishes us to pray without ceasing. This means we should pray non-stop. If that is the case, then the suggest one-hour benchmark is not enough. However, it is also impracticable to do it without stopping. Especially if we are to carry on like a prayer warrior (with our eye closed, our hands clasped and other prayer gesticulation). We need to attend to other areas of our lives, like making a living, attending to our loved ones and our passions. This brings to mind what I read recently in a daily devotional by Max Lucado. An excerpt from the devotional said
“Prayer is simply a heartfelt conversation between God and His child. It is a conversation with God while driving to work, awaiting an appointment or before interacting with a client. Prayer can be the internal voice that directs the external action.”
This I totally agree with.
It is the only way we can pray without ceasing. The only way we can keep the communication lines open and take God’s presence with us every moment of every day.
I am not to downplaying the need and benefits of setting aside a period of our day for a quiet time, alone with God. It is very important to create a time and place where we can maintain external and internal quietness in order to focus on God without the distractions of our lives. However, the efficacy of prayers is not in the eloquence of our words or the duration of our oratory skills. A simple ‘Lord, help me’ can command a lot more spiritual power than thousands of words spoken in a longer duration.