Posted by: pastormikemcdowell | November 13, 2015

November 13, 2015 “A Welcome Rapid Conclusion”

“They devour widows’ houses and for the sake of appearance say long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.” (Luke 20:47)

Good Morning Friends!

When I was a student at Grove City College in northwestern Pennsylvania, one of the requirements at this Christian institution of higher learning was attendance at daily chapel. These services were usually conducted by the college chaplain, but occasionally a professor, usually from the Philosophy and Religion department, would lead the service. One of the professors had gained the dubious reputation of being someone known for his rather lengthy prayers, which were more like a sermon than an actual prayer. At one of the services he was leading, he began his usual lengthy prayer session, thanking God for the color and intricacy of leaves, (as I recall), but was interrupted by a coughing spell after about ten minutes of praying. This brought the prayer to a welcome rapid conclusion. The students regarded it as a bit of divine intervention, as if the Lord were saying, “Enough Already! I know every leaf. I fashioned them, after all, but thanks for noticing.” Charles Finny made a similar observation regarding such praying when he wrote,

“Some men will spin out a long prayer telling God who and what he is, or they pray out a whole system of divinity. Some people preach, others exhort the people, till everybody wishes they would stop, and God wishes so, too, most undoubtedly.”

Genuine, fervent, heartfelt prayer is always welcome at the Throne of Grace. But God is not impressed by lengthy prayers done for show. In fact, he says the same in Luke 20:47. Genuine prayer reflects the sincerity of the heart. Jesus had harsh criticism for the false piety of the Pharisees who prayed for show while being less than godly in their treatment of the helpless and the needy. Understand that God always encourages and welcomes our sincere prayers from the heart, He doesn’t need a sermon or a dissertation, or a detailed explanation of what he has accomplished,  but welcomes our thanks, praise, confession and intercession. Let’s Pray!

Loving Lord; teach us that the reason we pray is not to teach, but to be taught…it is not to lecture but to learn of your love, discern your perfect will, and rejoice in your abiding presence. Draw us near to Your heart through our prayers,we ask in Jesus’ blessed name. Amen!



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