ST. PAUL gives us this warning because he knows that it is very easy for us to become careless about our prayers. We say them so often that they can become mere routine. Every now and then we have to stop and ask ourselves, Am I really trying to pray well?"
That is just what happened to Johnny. He used to say his night prayers every night, but he became careless. Every night he raced through his prayers just a little faster. Then one night he knelt down by the bed and set a new speed record for night prayers. He was the fastest night-prayer-sayer in the world. He hopped into bed and was just beginning to dream when a storm broke. First came the rain and the wind. Then came flashes of lightning like golden arrows through the dark. After each flash came the angry grumbling of the thunder. That was enough for Johnny. He was afraid of lightning. He jumped out of bed and said to himself, "I'll say my prayers all over again, but I had better say them more carefully this time."
We can prevent carelessness if we keep in mind how important prayer is. It is the raising up of the heart and mind to God. In other words we are talking with God, face to face and heart to heart. We talk with Him as with a trusted friend and there should be no carelessness. Prayer brings us before the throne of God Almighty, Who made us out of nothing and keeps us from falling back into nothingness by His power. Prayer brings us into the presence of the King who holds the world in the palm of His hand the way a boy would hold a bird's egg. In the presence of the King, carelessness would be impolite. Pray always, then, and pray without ceasing. God is always ready to listen to us anytime we are willing to talk with Him. A sailor was once shipwrecked off the coast of South America. He drifted for days on a raft. When his water supply ran out he suffered dreadfully from thirst in the tropical heat. Finally, he was rescued. The captain of the ship which saved him said, "You did not know it but you were on fresh water, not salt water, all the time. We are in the mouth of the Amazon river, which is such a large river that it makes the ocean fresh for hundreds of miles as it empties into it. All you had! to do was cast your bucket where you were and drink to your heart's content." Make that our motto in prayer.
"Cast the bucket where you are."
Pray always and pray without ceasing. There are about; (three hundred) children here in this church this morning. I can tell you exactly how many of you will get to heaven — those of you who say your prayers regularly and; carefully.
Source: Heirs of the Kingdom, Imprimatur 1949