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Reflections | Dr. Leighton Ford (Mentoring)

Short sermons and Shorter prayers

June 13, 2014

On the way home yesterday I happened to glance at a church bulletin board which reads:

Shorter sermons month

Hmm. Will be interesting to see whether there attendance grows. And faith grows.

This morning I read the advice of the unknown author of The Cloud of Unknowing who recommends that prayers should be in “very few words, the fewer the better.” Indeed the author recommends one syllable words as best – as we would cry “help” if our house was on fire.

“Short prayer penetrates heaven,” he/she says.

Why does it penetrate heaven, this short little prayer of one syllable? Surely because it is prayed with a full heart, in the length and depth and breadth of the spirit of him that prays it. In the height, for it is with the might of his spirit; in the depth, for in this little syllable is contained all that the spirits knows; in the length, for should it always feel as it does now, it would always cry to God as it now cries; in the breadth, for it would extend to all men what it wills for itself.

Well, I suppose more than one syllable or word is good if it comes from a full heart.

But Jesus did say: let your words be few.

So, today.




Leighton Ford

PS The next church I passed was advertising “bigger breakfasts.” Makes me pause. Shorter sermons and bigger breakfasts. The next trend in church growth?

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