St. Benedict, popularly known as the “Father of Western Monasticism,” made a specific Rule for monks to follow in the 6th century. In the rule, he advises his monks to keep their prayers short.
Prayer in an actual sense should therefore be short and pure, unless perhaps it is prolonged under the inspiration of divine grace. However, in community, prayer should always be brief; and whenever the superior gives the signal, all should rise together.
This does not really imply that we must not pray for long periods of time.
St. Benedict furthermore, warned his monks to pray from their hearts and not to pray to gain attention from others. And we must know that God regards our purity of heart and tears of compunction, not our many words.
Prolonging prayers does not only applies to prayers said in public, but also in our private prayers said in the comfort of our own home. Prayer should lay it’s focus on length, but on the heart.
God wishes to hear the prayers that come from the deepest recesses of our hearts. And in doing this, we invite God into our lives and allow him to probe our deepest wounds. Because, he is the “Divine Physician,” and he can heal our brokenness only when we reveal our heart to him.
Let’s take the advice of St. Benedict and focus our prayer on authenticity and not too many words.