Ministers and teachers should give special attention to the voice, and learn the art of speaking, not in a nervous, hurried manner, but in a slow, clear, distinct manner, preserving the music of the voice. The Saviour was the greatest teacher the world ever knew, and his voice was as music to the ears of those who had been accustomed to hear the monotonous, spiritless preaching of the Scribes and Pharisees. He spoke slowly and impressively, emphasizing those words to which he wished them to give special attention.
Jesus’ manner of teaching was beautiful and attractive, and it was ever characterized by simplicity. He unfolded the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven through the use of figures and symbols with which his hearers were familiar, and the common people heard him gladly; for they could comprehend his words. There were no high-sounding words used, to understand which it was necessary to consult a dictionary. He illustrated the glories of the kingdom of God by the use of the experiences and occurrences of earth. In compassionate love and tenderness he cheered and comforted and instructed all who heard him; for grace was poured upon his lips that he might convey to men in the most attractive way the treasures of truth.
This is the manner in which he would have us present his truth to others. The power of speech is of great value, and the voice should be cultivated for the blessing of those with whom we come in contact. I am pained when I see how little this precious gift is appreciated. In reading the Bible, in engaging in prayer, in bearing testimony, how necessary is clear, distinct utterance. How much is lost in family worship when the one offering prayer bows the face down, and speaks in a low, feeble voice, as though just recovering from a long sickness. But as soon as family worship is over, those who could not speak loud enough to be heard in prayer, can speak in clear, distinct tones, and there is no difficulty in hearing what is said. Prayer that is thus uttered is appropriate for the closet, but not suitable for public worship; for unless those assembled with them can hear what is said, they cannot say Amen.
Nearly all persons can speak loud enough to be heard in ordinary conversation, and why should not the same voice and talent be used when they are called upon to bear testimony or offer prayer? When speaking of heavenly and divine things, why not speak in distinct tones, in a manner that will make it manifest that you know what you are talking about, and are not ashamed to show your colors? Why not pray as though you had a conscience void of offense, and could come to the throne of grace in humility and yet with holy boldness, lifting up holy hands without wrath and doubting? Do not bow down and cover up your face as if there were something that you desired to conceal; but lift up your eyes toward the heavenly sanctuary, where Christ your Mediator stands before the Father to present your prayers as fragrant incense, mingled with his own merit and spotless righteousness. You are invited to come, to ask, to seek, to knock, and you are assured that you will not come in vain.
This article is excerpted from the book Christian Education, pp 126-129, by Ellen G. White.