How Long Should Our Public Prayers Be?

Bible Answer

Matthew 6:7 "But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking."

Matthew 6:9-13 "After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. 10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen."

Ecclesiastes 5:2-3 "Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few. 3 For a dream cometh through the multitude of business; and a fool's voice is known by multitude of words."

Inspired Answers

"Christ impressed upon His disciples the idea that their prayers should be short, expressing just what they wanted, and no more. He gives the length and substance of their prayers, expressing their desires for temporal and spiritual blessings, and their gratitude for the same. How comprehensive this sample prayer! It covers the actual need of all. One or two minutes is long enough for any ordinary prayer. There may be instances where prayer is in a special manner indited by the Spirit of God, where supplication is made in the Spirit. The yearning soul becomes agonized and groans after God. The spirit wrestles as did Jacob and will not be at rest without special manifestations of the power of God. This is as God would have it." – {2T 581.1}

"In the small meetings of our people there is danger of killing the interest of the meetings by imprudence. Let there be no long prayers; save your long prayers for the closet. Let not your prayers be all over the world. Pray right to the point, for the blessing of God upon yourself and those assembled then and there. When you pray alone in your closet, then lay out before God all the burden of your heart; but in the assembly met to worship God, such prayers are all out of place. They kill the interest of the meetings, and make them tedious. Look at the sample prayer given by Christ to His disciples. How brief, how comprehensive, that prayer!"  {3MR 3.3}  

"The prayer meeting, if conducted properly, may be a power for good. But in these assemblies, one man is not to pray all over the world. The long, spiritless prayers that are offered do not bring blessing to any; they are no strength to the praying one, and give no glory to God. In our prayers we are to come right to the point. We are to ask for the divine presence, and that the Lord will bless the preaching of the Word." {Ms23-1899 (March 9, 1899) par. 8}

"Long, prosy talks and prayers are out of place anywhere, and especially in the social meeting. Those who are forward and ever ready to speak, are allowed to crowd out the testimony of the timid and retiring. Those who are most superficial generally have the most to say. Their prayers are long and mechanical. They weary the angels and the people who listen to them. Our prayers should be short and right to the point. Let the long, tiresome petitions be left for the closet, if any have such to offer. Let the Spirit of God into your hearts, and it will sweep away all dry formality." {GW92 325.1}

Further Thoughts