Even a short time for prayer can make a big difference. I was thinking about the contest that Elijah took on with the prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18). The god who answered by fire would be the true God. In answer to Elijah’s prayer fire came down and consumed the sacrifice. Some important truths for prayer from the story:
- Short prayer made the difference.
I looked at several different Bible translations of the prayer that Elijah prayed and read it out load. It took about 20 seconds. Yet this short prayer brought an answer by fire. Yes, he was probably in an attitude of prayer the whole time this event was going on, but his prayer was only 20 seconds. I can find 20 seconds in various parts of my day to see what God will do in my life. Later in the day he would see again the value of persistent prayer, yet sometimes God will answer in a moment. Elijah was like us and he prayed and God answered. (See James 5)
- It wasn’t even a contest between God and the enemy.
Looking at the story, the prophets of Baal prayed for a long time and got no results. It wasn’t like they got a little bit of fire while God sent a lot of fire. No, they got nothing and God had a pyrotechnic display. This is an important truth to remember in prayer. When we go to God in prayer it is not to a god who is weak and unable to answer. When we battle in prayer it is not against an enemy that is somehow equal to God.
- A dramatic change can come in a short period of time.
In the course of a day there was a powerful change in the country as a result of God’s move that day. God spoke to me years ago to the effect, “I can do in a moment what would take you a lifetime.” I have found this to be true. It is amazing the how the landscape can change quickly in answer to our prayer.
So even if we only have moments it is not excuse from going into God’s presence to ask. What answers to prayer have you had that came as a result of a short prayer? What if you gave God the next 20 seconds?