Wesley Stories:
John Wesley and Extemporaneous Prayer
Joseph Beumont Wakeley
THE ARMINIAN MAGAZINE. Issue 1. Spring 2013. Volume 31.
Date Posted July 4, 2013

Mr. Wesley not only preached, but also prayed extemporaneously. A gentleman who was horror-struck at the idea of praying without a book made him a visit, and exhorted him not to use extempore prayer, "which," said he, "is no prayer at all, and this I will prove to a demonstration, for you cannot do two things at once - thinking how to pray and praying being two things;, you cannot think and pray at once." Mr. Wesley ingeniously turned the tables on him, and with the gentleman's own method of reasoning showed that it was impossible to pray with a book. He replied, "May it not be proved by the self-same demonstration that praying by a form is no prayer at all; for example, you cannot do two things at once, reading and praying being two things; therefore, you cannot both read and pray at once."