- 12 -
The Quality of Prayer
If we pray better, we may well pray less. This may seem counterintuitive, but in many things, particularly spiritual things, quality and quantity don't always coexist.
I am convinced that our Heavenly Father is more concerned with how well we do things than how much we do them. Prayer may be at the top of this list because the motivation to pray more strongly tempts us to pray just for the sake of praying. Certainly the gift of communion with God is far too blessed and sacred for such a heartless and mindless application.
Early in my Christian life, good and well meaning teachers strongly encouraged me to pray more. My attempts to do so led to clock-watching and the mouthing of empty words originating not from the true substance of devotion, but rather the vanity of a mere sense of obligation. Doubtless there is responsibility concerning prayer - "Men ought always to pray" (Luke 18:1). However, nothing in the Bible hints of a prayerfulness born out of a rote and ritualistic practice that lacks heart, relationship, and most of all, love. As the Apostle Paul declared in I Corinthians 13, we can do many things that seem spiritual, holy and good. But if love, the love of God, does not originate, perpetuate, and culminate our religious doing, we are "nothing" (I Corinthians 13:2).
In this day, and in all to come, let us ask our Heavenly Father to grace us with much the remembrance of how much He desires our conscious fellowship. "The prayer of the upright is His delight" (Proverbs 15:8). Let us also request the grace whereby our praying pleases Him because it issues forth from the reality of His Spirit's working in us, and the reality of our response to Him motivated by a genuineness of heart and mind. Such awareness may well pare down the words of our prayers, even as it exponentially increases their genuineness and experience of God's living presence. Nothing more would please His heart, and nothing more will fill our hearts.
"Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life."
"Blessed are they that keep His testimonies, and that seek Him with the whole heart."