THE POWER OF 10, 20 & 30-SECOND PRAYERS

Do you ever feel tired of praying before you even start? Well, welcome to life as a human being. Sure, most of us have experienced seasons of grace on our prayer lives where we feel like praying-machines, and growing in enjoyable prayer is a muscle that we can develop just by it doing it more, but the normal, weak, human experience of prayer is always difficult at first (and sometimes even after years of doing it!). Why is prayer so hard? Because it’s the embracing of weakness, the very last thing our sinful flesh wants to do. The flesh wants to be strong. Prayer is weakness, dependence, faith and humility. To that our flesh says, “yuck, yuck, yuck, yuck.” Shut up, flesh.

Don’t Give Up!

In light of this, thinking about spending six hours in prayer can seem overwhelming. This is where the beauty of 10, 20 & 30-second prayers comes in. So you don’t want to pray for six hours – fine. Instead of not praying at all, pray a 10-second prayer. It looks like this: you hear about a person or situation that you know you should pray for but you just don’t feel like it. You immediately imagine that you have to commit to at least an hour praying for that person – but who says you have to do that? Pray for 10 seconds instead. Number one, it counts. Number two, your heart will respond.

Try This

If you decide to start praying 10-second prayers whenever you even just think about something that you should pray for, you will #1. pray a TON more, and #2. start praying longer and from the heart. This is where communing with the Holy Spirit really takes off. If you said a 5 or 10-second prayer for each needful person, event, or situation that you thought of each day (which is pretty much everything we think of, including ourselves) you would talk to the Holy Spirit far more than if you just treat those thoughts as your own personal, random neuron-firing time. When you think about your roommate or your neighbor, say a quick prayer for them – don’t let the opportunity pass as just a random thought that produces no fruit.

When You Least Expect It…

This approach to prayer is so disarming. It frees us from the mindset that prayer only counts if we do it for a long time. It encourages us to pray many, many, many times every day. It gets us addicted to talking to the Holy Spirit. It becomes a way of life. The testimonies of those who have tried this, including myself, is that without realizing when or how, suddenly prayer was becoming a natural part of the thought-process. I personally found myself getting lost in times of prayer that began as 10-second prayers but ended up going for a half-hour because I got swept up into the power and pleasure of talking to God. You gotta try this!

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  1. I’m with you Molly. So many times people communicate that the only to way to pray is on your knees, in deep travail, for at least an hour. The wonderful thing about IHOP is hearing Mike, soon after you arrive, that sitting in your seat saying “I love you” is a prayer. How great! You know that I’ve felt at times before that I wasn’t an Anna. But I’ve since changed my mind (much to do with an intense conversation that you had the pleasure to be a part of, which I’m sure you remember with great fondness – yuck, yuck!). I began to pray little prayers consistantly, all throughout the day. And now I’m experiencing that season of having a spirit of prayer. I don’t know how long it will last, but I’m going to enjoy it while it’s here and pray that it never leaves again.

  2. kaitlyn

    It’s So true. I get easily overwhelmed these days when I think of all of the things I want to pray for… but it reall is as easy as 20 seconds here and there. We talk in the prayer room longer than that most days! Surely it can be done.

  3. Tom – I do remember that conversation…I’m so glad there was fruit from it! I’m glad you’re currently experiencing enjoyable prayer. I know that feeling of not wanting it to ever leave!

    Kaitlyn – good point!

  4. I think you just described about 85% of my prayer life. Those constant little 10-second prayers add up after a while. And, eventually, it does just kind of become a shift in your thinking process in general. Everything gets more God-centered, and you find that you are talking to Him all day.

    Henri Nouwen has some good stuff to say about this in Clowning in Rome. (Some of what he says in there about prayer completely changed my life.)

    Thank you for this excellent post!

  5. Thanks Christine…and yes, Clowing in Rome is essential! You are awesome, you know that?

  6. ruthbloem

    i’ll try this. i can do it at work as well. sometimes i get frustrated when i think about the fact that i can’t spend literally hours in prayer.. and praying 10-second prayers is a good point to start for me. then i don’t have to be frustrated anymore. in my frustration it is easier to say ‘then i won’t pray at all..” but… i’ll try it this week.. yup this really is good. i like this!

  7. So that’s how Epaphras did it…

  8. benjaminwood

    Molly,
    This is such a good principal for all of us to live by, i love it, and so does God. Mostly because it counts in His eyes, now we just need to make sure that we know it counts in His eyes. Then we can move in boldness when we speak those 10, 20, 30 second prayers. I love it. You deserve a two fisted BOO YA!

  9. benjaminwood

    P.S. i am not a big fan of this layout, i bugs out my eyes to have the letters so close to the left hand side when i read a post, i have bug eyes!

  10. Ben – thanks for the double-fisted BOO YA! I felt that…

    Thanks for the feedback on the layout…I appreciate knowing what makes for enjoyable reading!

  11. Wow, Christine, that is incredilble.

  12. Love your blog, molly.

    But not on fasting days.

    I’m glad you’re helping people into this reality. I think you’re setting the standard for a Jeremiah 3:15 blogging community, and I appreciate that.

  13. Steve & Amanda

    i struggle with restlessness everyday!

  14. Brett – thanks! That’s quite a compliment really…

    Steve and Amanda – Me too!!!

  1. 1 I'm back « Standing on the Wall

    […] Mosack posted about how to do unceasing prayer a few days ago. It’s so simple. I, too, can actually learn how to live a life of […]




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