Eloquent prayers

(Charles Spurgeon)

If the eloquence of our prayers mattered to God, then eloquence would be more valuable than grace — but it is not so.

Some of us may be able to express ourselves very fluently from the force of natural abilities — but it should always be an anxious question to us, whether our prayer is a prayer which God will receive.

We often pray best when we stammer and stutter — and we often pray worst when words flow articulately one after another! God is not moved by eloquent prayers — they are but empty noise to Him. He is only moved by sincere emotions which dwell in the innermost heart.

For a man to bend his knees and utter the hypocritical language of affection to God which he never feels in his heart — is little short of blaspheming God! We must have very light thoughts of God, when we try to deceive Him with such prayers as these!

I often say my prayers
But do I ever pray?
And do the wishes of my heart
Go with the words I say?

I may as well kneel down
And worship gods of stone,
As offer to the living God
A prayer of words alone.

For words without the heart
The Lord will never hear;
Nor will He to those lips attend
Whose prayers are not sincere.
   John Burton, 1803-1877

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You may want to read J.C. Ryle's superb article on the same topic, "A Call to Prayer".