“And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Matthew 6:7
Believers view prayer, not as hard work, but as a responsibility that’s easy to fulfill. They pray in faith because they know God has promised to hear them. They pray from the heart, revealing their agony and needs. They pray with groans and sighs. As Paul says, “The Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express” (Romans 8:26). The Spirit knows that God is listening to him and that excessive rambling isn’t necessary.
Elijah, Elisha, David, and others in the Old Testament used few words when they prayed and came straight to the point. The fathers in the early church said it well: “Nothing will be accomplished by long-winded prayers.” In fact, the church fathers recommended short, whispered expressions of sorrow and prayers consisting of only a word or two. This kind of praying can be done anytime, even when reading, writing, or doing other tasks.
However, people who think of prayer as bothersome, difficult work will never find any joy or satisfaction in their prayer lives. Their only source of pleasure will be their continual rambling. If you try to pray, but you have no faith and you feel no sense of need, your heart won’t be in it. And if your heart isn’t in your prayers, but you still feel obligated to pray, then prayer becomes boring and difficult. This becomes obvious when you look at physical work. If a job is done reluctantly, it will be boring and annoying. But if your heart is in your work, you aren’t even aware of the difficulty of your task. So those who have an inner joy when they pray aren’t aware of the hard work and trouble involved. God doesn’t want long, drawn-out prayers. Instead, he wants sincere prayers that flow out of a faithful heart.
A 2005 Gold Medallion finalist!
Martin Luther served as a catalyst of the Protestant Reformation in sixteenth-century Europe. This book teaches children about his fascinating life, influence, and teaching while encouraging them to see how God uses them in His kingdom today.
Children learn the historic background to a significant time in the church. They discover that, like Martin Luther, they can learn about the reality of Christ’s life and death on their behalf, His grace and mercy, and His desire for them as baptized, redeemed children of God.