Rosemary isn't too impressed with John Wesley's prayer, "Lord let me not live to be useless." But in Wesley's defence Rosemary - he was the catalyst for a movement that has activism as one of its defining characteristics. And though some might argue that his evangelistic and organisational activism was driven by a clamouring ego, there is also a weight of evidence of something in John Wesley that is much more spiritually substantial. One of the key texts of Scripture on which Wesley's theology of Christian perfection drew deeply, was 2 Peter 1.4 which speaks of believers as participants in the divine nature. And the chain of consequences ends in verse 8 of that chapter with the desire to be kept 'from being ineffective and unproductive in [our] knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.'
Assuming Rosemary, you are referring to Milton's moving poem about his blindness, then yes, the observation he makes to God "They also serve who only stand and wait", has equal claim to being a one line prayer that has its moments of exact appropriateness in all our lives. Though Milton himself was no passive quietist - his writing, social engagement and energetic pursuit of religious liberty, political activism and public service enabled him to live a life as full as that of any Wesley, his personality just as complex, his popularity just as mixed.
But a comparison of prayers, their suitability or otherwise, invites some further reflection - on whether, or in what way someone, whether Wesley, Milton, Julian of Norwich or whoever can be "wrong" in content, intention or articulation of their prayer. Our personal circumstances, unique identity, our place in our family, neighbourhood or culture, the emotional and spiritual state we are in, our personal history - and much else, creates the person we are and out of whom come our prayers - praiseworthy and blameworthy, full formed and half formed, articulate and inarticulate, theologically correct and theologically dodgy, emotionally all over the place or emotionally integrated.
So we pray. We pray out of who we are. And we trust God who knows the heart, to see our intent. I think it's one of the mercies of God that love covers a multitude of sins, that God knows our frame and remembers we are dust, and that in prevenient grace God is there before we ever open our mouths, and long afterwards.
That said, some prayers are wrong. But what kind would they be?
Stuart asks in his comment about my own favourite one line prayer. I don't have one. There are a number I've used many times in those moments when they fit circumstance precisely, answer inner mood exactly, or say the truth as fully as I can bear it. Here's three of them:
For all that is past, thanks - for all that is to come YES
Thine eternity dost ever besiege us
My chains fell off, my heart was free, I rose, went forth, and followed Thee!