How to Pray

A good rule is to make public prayers shorter than those we offer in private. Some seize opportunities to pray in public as a means to impress others. A minister who was asked to pray at the opening of a widely heard radio program became so eloquent that he prayed through the entire broadcast and did not finish his prayer until they had been off the air for five minutes.

The famous evangelist, D.L, Moody, did not like long public prayers. Once when a minister prayed long in one of his meetings, he rose and said: “While our brother is finishing his prayer, we will sing number 75.” A medical student happened to be bored with the long prayer and just about to leave when Moody’s action captured his attention. He was converted that day and became known around the world for his outstanding missionary work.

The recorded public prayers of Jesus were brief. On the other hand, when alone or in the company of His disciples, He prayed long and fervently. In the Garden of Gethsemane, He prayed so intensely that drops of blood fell from His brow and so long that the disciples who were with Him fell asleep.

Many feel that conditions in the world and the church are so serious that they constitute a call to prayer. Tense times move people to pray. But we must remember that effective prayer is not the people-pleasing variety. Prayer that moves the hand of God comes from the heart of man.