Over the years, I’ve
accumulated ten pages of what I call "Thorntonisms." One of them is this: I seldom say "amen" in my prayers,
because I’m never through." I don’t hold long conversations. I say what’s to be said, getting to
the point, and that’s why my Conquest articles take about two minutes to draw your attention and guide it to God. When
I pray, I’m liable to be back to Him in minutes.
The Bible has nothing against short prayers. When the Apostles asked Jesus how to pray, He
gave them about 70 words (Matthew 6:9). And he said of the scribes, concerning their pretence at Godliness, "…for
a pretence make long prayers; these shall receive greater damnation" (Mark 12:40).
But that certainly doesn’t have to apply to any Christian as
He talks to God. In fact, Jesus prayed all night at times. "And it came to pass in those days,that He went out into
a mountain to pray; and continued all night in prayer to God" (Luke 6:12). And He prayed repeatedly for certain things;
for example, when He was in the Garden and crucifixion was looming, He asked three times that if it were possible, that this
thing pass from Him. "And He left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time" (Matthew 26:44). One thing
any government can’t take away from the Christian, and that is he can’t be prevented from praying. Nor can it
be, even in our schools. God knows our thoughts. David said in Psalms 139:2, Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising,
thou understands my thoughts afar off."
And so pray according to your ability. Pray everything that’s on your mind, especially when you’re alone. I
don’t recommend a public prayer that’s so long that you forget you’re praying to God, and get into a sermon
on how your neighbor ought to be better guided. But keep Christ in mind. That’s what Paul meant when he said to "pray
without ceasing" (1ST Thessalonians 5:17). Keep a prayerful attitude toward life and Christ and He’ll keep your
name in the Book of Life. In fact, I often remind the Lord to keep my name in it. Then I try to live so He can.