Lord, teach us to pray. Luke 11:1.
Christ did not give this prayer [the Lord’s Prayer, Luke 11:2-4] for men to repeat as a form. He gave it as an illustration of what our prayers should be—simple, earnest, and comprehensive.6Manuscript 23, 1899.
Many prayers are offered without faith. A set form of words is used, but there is no real importunity. These prayers are doubtful, hesitating; they bring no relief to those who offer them, and no comfort or hope to others. The form of prayer is used, but the spirit is wanting, showing that the petitioner does not feel his need….
Learn to pray short and right to the point, asking for just what you need. Learn to pray aloud where only God can hear you. Do not offer make-believe prayers, but earnest, feeling petitions, expressing the hunger of the soul for the Bread of Life. If we prayed more in secret, we should be able to pray more intelligently in public. These doubtful, hesitating prayers would cease. And when we engaged with our brethren in public worship, we could add to the interest of the meeting; for we should bring with us some of the atmosphere of heaven, and our worship would be a reality, and not a mere form…. If the soul is not drawn out in prayer in the closet and while engaged in the business of the day, it will be manifest in the prayer meeting….
The life of the soul depends upon habitual communion with God. Its wants are made known, and the heart is open to receive fresh blessings. Gratitude flows from unfeigned lips; and the refreshing that is received from Jesus is manifested in words, in deeds of active benevolence, and in public devotion. There is love to Jesus in the heart; and where love exists, it will not be repressed, but will express itself. Secret prayer sustains this inner life. The heart that loves God will desire to commune with Him, and will lean on Him in holy confidence.
Let us learn to pray intelligently, expressing our requests with clearness and precision. Let us … pray as though we meant it. “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” James 5:16.7The Review and Herald, April 22, 1884.