Taken from, The Works of Thomas Goodwin, The Return of Prayers, p. 400
Written by Thomas Goodwin
Edited for thought and sense.
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice… The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
–Philippians 4:4-7, ESV
Men are mistaken in judging of the weakness of their prayers…
…They judge of the weakness of their prayers by their expressions, and gifts in performing them, or by the stirring and overflow of affections; whereas the strength and vigor of prayer should be estimated from the faith, the sincerity, the obedience, the desires expressed in it. As it is not the loudness of a preacher’s voice, but the weight and holiness of the matter, and spirit of the preacher, that move a wise and an intelligent hearer; so not gifts, but graces in prayers are they that move the Lord. The strength of prayer lies not in words, but in that which it is fitted to prevail with God. One prayer is not more strong than another, except in how it is so framed, it hath power with God more or less; as of Jacob it is said, ‘He had power with God,’ Hosea 12.
Now prayers move God, not as an orator moves his hearers, but as a child moves his father.
Two words of a child humbled, and crying at his father’s feet, will prevail more than penned orations, Rom. 8: it is the meaning of the spirit that God looks unto, more than the expression; for the groans there are said to be unutterable. Hezekiah’s expressions were so rude and broken, that he says, Isa. 38:14, that he did but ‘chatter,’he being then sick, even as a crane;’ yet God heard them.