A man bought a donkey from a preacher. The preacher told the man that this donkey had been trained in a very unique way, (being the donkey of a preacher). The only way to make the donkey go, was to say, "Hallelujah!" The only way to make the donkey stop, was to say, "Amen!"
The man was pleased with his purchase and immediately got on the animal to try out the preacher's instructions. "Hallelujah!" shouted the man. The donkey began to trot. "Amen!" shouted the man. The donkey stopped immediately. "This is great!" said the man. With a "Hallelujah," he rode off very proud of his new purchase.
The man traveled for a long time through some mountains. Soon he was heading toward a cliff. He could not remember the word to make the donkey stop. "Stop," said the man. "Halt!" he cried. The donkey just kept going. "Oh, no... Bible!....Church!...Please Stop!!" shouted the man. The donkey just began to trot faster. He was getting closer and closer to the cliff edge. Finally, in desperation, the man said a prayer. "Please, dear Lord. Please make this donkey stop before I go off the end of this mountain, In Jesus name, AMEN."
The donkey came to an abrupt stop just one step from the edge of the cliff.
"HALLELUJAH!", shouted the man.
It is hard to emphasize how vital prayer is to the Christian life, so getting it right makes a huge difference!
I'm sure that is why in His first teaching on prayer Jesus said, "When you pray, don't pray like these religious leaders. Rather, pray like this:"
1) Pray sincerely
Don't pray in a showy way trying to impress others with your piety. Prayer should not call attention to you it should call attention to God. Simply pour out your heart-felt desires to God in a humble and contrite spirit.
2) Pray secretly
When you pray, spend at least as much time praying alone in your secret place as you do publicly. Getting alone with God to pray is much more important than standing before people. Kneel before you stand!
3) Pray securely
When you pray, come to God with confidence in His love and grace and mercy. Know that He longs to hear from you and commune with you! You need not try to coerce Him or cajole Him to bend to your will. He desires to give you what you need!
What you say in prayer is important, but how you say it and where you say it is even more crucial. The story illustrated it but Jesus validated it!