He was praying in a certain place, and when He finished, one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John also taught his disciples.”
— Luke 11:1, HCSB
When Christ taught the people, he did not devote the time to prayer. He did not enforce upon them, as did the Pharisees, long, tedious ceremonies, and lengthy prayers. He taught his disciples how to pray.
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 gratitude for the same. This sample prayer, how comprehensive! It covers the actual need of all. One or two minutes is long enough for any ordinary prayer.
There are some who I fear do not take their troubles to God in private prayer, but reserve them for the prayer-meeting, and then do up their praying for several days in these meetings... From the light which I have received, our meetings should be spiritual and social, and not too long.
We meet together to edify one another by a mutual interchange of thoughts and feelings, thus making one another acquainted with our aspirations, our hopes, and gathering strength, and light, and courage, from one another. By our earnest, heart-felt prayers, offered up in faith, we receive refreshment and vigor from the Source of our strength.
All have not the same experience, and the same exercises in their religious life. But those of diverse experiences come together, and with simplicity and humbleness of mind, talk out their experience. All should have, and will have, an experience that is living, that is new and interesting, if they are pursuing the onward Christian course. A living experience is made up of daily trials, conflicts, and temptations, strong efforts and victories, and great peace and joy gained through Jesus. A simple relation of such experiences give light, strength, and knowledge, that will aid others in their advancement in the divine life. The worship of God should be both interesting and instructive to those who have any love for divine and heavenly things.
— The Review and Herald, May 30, 1871
Our Father in heaven, as we assemble together, we come to You with grateful hearts for Your temporal and spiritual blessings. Fill us with Your Spirit. We come in humbleness of mind that we may edify one another and encourage each other in the divine life. Teach us how to gather strength, light, and courage, from one another. Refresh us with Your presence that we may gain a living experience through Jesus, the Source of our strength.