PRAYER IS NOT TO BE MEASURED BY OUTWARD EXPRESSION.
A breathing is a prayer from which God does not hide His ear. It is undoubtedly a great Truth of God, and full of much comfort, too, that our prayers are not powerful in proportion to their expression, for, if so, the Pharisee would have succeeded since he evidently had greater gifts than the Publican had. I have no doubt, if there had been a regular Prayer Meeting, and the Pharisee and the Publican had attended, we would have called on the Pharisee to pray.
I do not think the people of God would have enjoyed his prayer, nor have felt any kinship of spirit with him and yet, very naturally, on account of his gifts, he would have taken upon himself to engage in public devotion or, if that Pharisee would not have done so, I have heard of other Pharisees who would. No doubt the man’s spirit was bad, but then his expression was good—he could put his oration so neatly and pour it out so accurately. Let all men know that God does not care for that! The sigh of the Publican reached His ear and won the blessing but the boastful phrases of the Pharisee were an abomination to Him! If our prayers were forcible according to their expression, then rhetoric would be more valuable than Grace and a scholastic education would be better than sanctification—but it is not so.
Some of us may be able to express ourselves very fluently from the force of natural gifts, but it should always be to us an anxious question whether our prayer is a prayer which God will receive, for we ought to know and must know by this time, that we often pray best when we stammer and stutter—and we pray worst when words come rolling like a torrent, one after another! God is not moved by words—they are but a noise to Him. He is only moved by the deep thought and the heaving emotion which dwell in the innermost spirit. It were a sorry business for you, who are poor, if God only heard us according to the beauty of our utterances, for it may be that your education was so neglected that there is no hope of your ever being able to speak grammatically. And, besides, it may be, from your limited information, that you could not use the phrases which sound so well.
But the Lord hears the poor, the ignorant and the needy! He loves to hear their cry. What cares He for the grammar of the prayer? It is the soul of it that He wants! And if you cannot string three words of the Queen’s English together correctly, yet if your soul can breathe itself out before the Most High anyhow—if it is but warm, hearty, sincere, earnest petitioning—there is power in your prayer and none the less power in it because of its broken words, nor would it be an advantage to you, so far as the Lord is concerned, if those words were not broken, but were well composed! Ought not this to comfort us, then? Even if we are gifted with facility of expression, we sometimes find that our power of utterance fails us. Under very heavy grief, a man cannot speak as he is known to do. Circumstances can make the most eloquent tongue grow slow of speech. It matters not—your prayer is as good as it was before.
You call upon God in public and you sit down and think that your confused prayer was of no service to the Church. You know not in what scales God weighs your prayer—not by quantity, but by quality—not by the outward dress of verbiage, but by the inner soul and the intense earnestness that was in it does He compute its value! Do you not sometimes rise from your knees in your little room and say, “I do not Sermon #3083 Comfort for Those Whose Prayers Are Feeble 5 Volume 54 www.spurgeongems.org 5 think I have prayed, I could not feel at home in prayer”? Nine times out of every ten, those prayers are most prevalent with God which we think are the least acceptable. But when we glory in our prayer, God will have nothing to do with it! If you see any beauty in your own supplication—God will not—for you have evidently been looking at your prayer and not at Him! But when your soul sees so much of His Glory that she cries, “How shall I speak unto You—I who am but dust and ashes?” When she sees so much of His goodness that she is hampered in expression by the depth of her own humiliation, oh, then it is that your prayer is best! There may be more prayer in a groan than in an entire liturgy.
There may be more acceptable devotion in a tear that dampens the floor of yonder pew than in all the hymns we have sung, or in all the supplications which we have uttered! It is not the outward, it is the inward! It is not the lips, it is the heart which the Lord regards! If you can only breathe, your prayer is still accepted by the Most High! I desire that this Truth may come home to any one of you who says, “I cannot pray.” It is not true. If it were necessary that in order to pray, you should talk for a quarter of an hour together, or that you should say pretty things, why then I would admit that you could not pray! But if it is only to say from your heart, “God be merciful to me a sinner,” yes, and if prayer is not saying anything at all, but desiring, longing, hoping for mercy, for pardon, for salvation, no man may say, “I cannot,” unless he is honest enough to add, “I cannot because I will not. I love my sins too well and have no faith in Christ. I do not desire to be saved.” If you will to pray, O my Hearer, you can pray! He who gives the will joins the ability to it!
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This Article is by Peter Collins – In a sales career spanning more than 53 years, Peter Collins has focused on helping and bringing out the best in others – whether it involves training or mentoring salespeople, managers, business consulting to SME’s. Since the 1970’s Peter has built a reputation as a Nationally and Internationally Published author, and has 68 business books to his credit, but he is mainly known for one book based on the Audio Tape series of the same name, Over 50 Ways of Closing the Sale. Peter had his first book published in 1969 and now has over 133 books in all, including Business, Marketing, Sales, Free Publicity, Body Language, Music and over 30 Christian books to date. Peters books have sold over 2.5 Million copies of his books over 49 years. In his personal life, Peter has been sought after as an encourager and motivator that has given of his time and talents freely despite his busy schedule. Subsequently, he has assisted churches, pastors, community and charity groups, as well as individuals through his teaching, training, development and on-going mentoring.
© Copyright Peter Collins, Profit Maker Sales, Sydney, Australia, 1994, 2002, 2007, 2011, 2015, 2017, all rights reserved. Peter can be contacted through his website – profitmakersales.com
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