In my ministry at a hospice, I pray with patients that are terminally ill.  As can be expected most of the patients have cancer, and most are elderly.  So this has effected my prayer with them as well as my personal prayer, for I am praying slower now.  With the patients, they need me to pray slowly so that they can pray with me and so that they can understand what I am saying.  This has had the effect on me that I also need to understand what I am praying, that I am not just saying prayers, repeating a predefined series of words written in the prayer books I use.

While I wear a watch at the hospice, I do not set a minimum or maximum amount of time to spend praying with any one patient.  I pray to help the patient encounter Jesus and God the Father and God the Holy Spirit.  The experience of prayer with the patients is about all about the encounter, not the speed of the words or the total number of prayers said.  Each line, each word of any prayer is important and has an effect on the person who is praying and/or a person being prayed for.

Our God is not a recording machine that counts the number of prayers we say and totals them up.  Jesus teaches us to pray by calling God “Our Father”, and our Father wants a relationship with us, for we are His sons and daughters, and He wants us to talk to Him…