The speaker’s words were both, familiar and shocking: “Let’s say a quick prayer.”
The familiar part came from hearing this many times before and even saying it myself. The shocking part came from realizing how disrespectful this is to God and how sad he must feel when his kids can only find time for a quick prayer.
Like any good parent, God yearns to connect with his children. He wants to hear how things are going, what’s on our mind, and how he can help. Even though he already knows these things, he wants us to tell him, he desires to hear us say the words. Quick is not what he longs for.
Usually one of two situations prompts these words. The first is when there’s much to do and not enough time, so we squeeze in an obligatory prayer as a prelude. The other is due to a lack of planning or priority, when self-focus consumes all time, leaving but seconds for God-focus before parting company.
True, there are times to breathe a fast prayer: in the split second timing separating an accident from a near miss, the unexpected opportunity for a make-or-break meeting, or when we must say something, but nothing comes to mind. Sometimes those prayers are simply, “God, help!”
However, there’s usually no good reason for a quick prayer. We’re lazy or tired or don’t respect God enough. We take him for granted or feel we don’t need to invest in our relationship. We promise to make time tomorrow, but the next day carries its own distractions.
How long would we maintain a friendship if that friend only ever had time for a quick conversation? Fortunately God is more patient and forgiving than we, but he still deserves more.