I’ve got a tricky question for you: Was the Old Testament prophet, Elisha, a man of prayer?
Okay, maybe that’s not a tricky question. Of course he was. It seems to go without saying that true prophets must be people of prayer. And Elisha was one of the most renowned prophets in all the Bible.
Which is why I find his prayers … interesting.
Remember when Elisha and his servant were surrounded by the Syrian army? The servant was afraid and Elisha prayed for him. “O Lord , please open his eyes that he may see.” (2 Kings 6:17) This English rendering is the lengthy version. It’s actually just six Hebrew words.
Moments later, Elisha prays again, this time against the enemy army. “Please strike this people with blindness.” (2 Kings 6:18) Another six-word prayer.
While I was researching the story of the amazing revival that happened in Estonia, I met Janis Ozolikievts. Janis (pronounced YAHnis) is a Pentecostal preacher. He visited the church where he heard God was doing miracles. But he was skeptical. Why? Because they didn’t pray “correctly.” He was Pentecostal and knew how to pray. Loud and verbose prayers were his standard. The quiet and less-wordy prayers of the leaders at Oleviste Church were clearly not going to be effective.
Yet they were. Janis saw with his own eyes that God heard and answered those “incorrect” prayers.
I have encountered those in the Body of Christ today who look down on others because they don’t know the “right way” to pray. Short, concise prayers certainly can’t bring results. But they did for Elisha. Each of those six-word prayers was answered in a truly miraculous way.
Jesus said that we shouldn’t think God is listening to us just because we use lots of words. (see Matthew 6:7-8) Prayer is much more about the heart and faith than it is about the number of words or tone of voice.
Regardless of how you pray, many or few words, God’s Word tells us to pray:
- at all times,
- for one another,
- when we need direction,
- for the eyes of unbelievers to be opened to see Him,
- without ceasing,
- in the day of trouble,
- and so much more.