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[Rev. W. Harvey-Jellie, A.M., D.B., in The Homiletic Review]

Let us bear clearly in mind the fact that there is a very definite distinction between praying and uttering audible requests. Prayer does not consist in an attitude of devotion, the bowed head, the bent knee, and the uttering of words and expression of thoughts which are pious in tone and beautiful in phrase. These may often be valuable accessories of prayer, but they do not constitute prayer, and are not even essential to it. No one ever taught more clearly than Jesus of Nazareth that wordiness and prayer are often so different as to be antagonistic. "When ye pray," said he, "use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking." Such wordiness is a mockery and a sinful waste of time in the sight of the Almighty. Yet we still find men who regard it as prayer. We have many who will "lead in public prayer" without ever praying. The beautifully worded compositions of our great and ancient liturgies and prayer-books repeated by many a thousand lips which never express a true heart-appeal to God. No Sabbath ever wears toward evening without a multitude of vain repetitions uttered under the ignorant superstition that they are prayers which Jehovah deigns to hear.

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December 26, 1914
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