I recently finished reading one of the absolute classic books on ministry - C.H. Spurgeon's Lectures to My Students. Of all the books I've read on ministry, it is one of the very best and certainly one of the funniest! It's also just about the only book I've read on sermon preparation which gives about the right amount of weight to the importance of prayer... It's so good, in fact, that I may well do a mini-series of quotes from it!
Here are some on prayer and the dangers of too many words.
slovenly, careless, lifeless talk in the guise of prayer, made to fill up a certain space in the service, is a weariness to man, and an abomination to God. Had free prayer been universally of a higher order a liturgy would never have been thought of, and to-day forms of prayer have 110 better apology than the feebleness of extemporaneous devotions.
Fine prayers are generally very wicked prayers. In the presence of the Lord of hosts it ill becomes a sinner to parade the feathers and finery of tawdry speech with the view of winning applause from his fellow mortals.
Never fall into a vainglorious style of impertinent address to God; he is not to be assailed as an antagonist, but entreated with as our Lord and God.
Verbiage is too often the fig-leaf which does duty as a covering for theological ignorance.
The art of saying commonplace things elegantly, pompously, grandiloquently, bombastically, is not lost among us, although its utter extinction were "a consummation devoutly to be wished."
Praying is the best studying.
My brethren, it is a hideous gift to possess, to be able to say nothing at extreme length.