God’s busy. Don’t burden him. Send him a short prayer. Brevity does have its place in all things.

discipline-of-prayer-the

Brevity has its place, in writing and elsewhere.

Tell you what I mean.

Lady goes to her local newspaper to place her husband’s obit.

Lady is told she can have a ten-word obit for free.

Lady is told she will have to pay for any additional words.

Lady dictates this obit to the editor:

“John Doe, 70, died Friday. For sale: Red Ford pickup.”

See what I mean?

Brevity does have its place.

Even in prayers.

There are times, I think, when short prayers are appropriate. Maybe even essential. Brief, to-the-point prayers.

Consider:

I went to the hospital one morning thinking I was there to have a stent inserted to open an artery. Comparatively routine, I thought. Get it done. Allow a little time for recovery. Go home.

But it didn’t quite work out that way. The stent procedure was ruled out; too much blockage. More invasive measures were required; namely, heart bypass surgery. A quintuple bypass. Uh-oh.

I was taken to a hospital room. A surgeon was recommended. Various hospital physicians, nurses and other personnel would come by and attest to the surgeon’s experience, credentials and abilities.

After awhile, the surgeon came. He talked reassuringly and straightforwardly. He told me what should be done and how it would be done. He talked about the consequences if it weren’t done. And done soon.

I asked him when he could perform the surgery. He said he would start his surgeries at seven o’clock sharp the next morning. I told him to put me at the top of his list. He said he would do that. He chatted a while longer, then smiled and left the room.

I lay there, alone with my thoughts. Such circumstances do cause you to think.

To think prayerfully.

But I also think that surely we must sometimes overburden God with prayer.  Or, that there are so many more people that have greater need than others and therefore are more deserving of God’s time, attention and grace.

In the quietude of that hospital room, I thought how fortunate I was: Loving family only steps away, a hospital known for good, professional care and only a couple of miles – as the crow flies  –  from home, staff that had repeatedly demonstrated its caring concern, a veteran surgeon whose superb credentials and professional reputation had preceded him in abundance to my room. And insurance to pay for it all.

What more could I ask?  What more should I pray for? Hadn’t God already provided for my needs?

I collected my thoughts, closed my eyes and, not wanting to take up too much of God’s precious time but still desirous of sufficiently covering my unexpected situation of the moment, whispered this prayer:

“Dear Lord, please let this fine doctor get a good night’s sleep.”

Roger Summers is a journalist and essayist who spends time in Texas, New Mexico and England and in a world of curiosity and creativity.

 

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