For many years, something that’s bothered me has been my inability to pray long fluent, professional sounding prayers like some pastors do. You’d think that after being a Christian all these years, I’d be a real pro at it. Well not so, and it’s always been a source of embarrassment, especially when I’m called on to say a prayer. I’ve envied those who could pray up a storm and make all the words flow like a script. My public prayers were short and to the point with no filler words to make the prayer sound good. Listening to my prayers, you would think that I was a complete novice, so much so that I seldom pray in public. If I try a longer more eloquent prayer, my words get all twisted up and don’t come out right.
A few things have changed my thinking on this matter.
– I heard a story about a fellow who was asked to deliver a prayer in a large public setting. He prayed what could be described as a politically incorrect prayer. Someone chided him and said “they felt the prayer was inappropriate.” He response was “I wasn’t talking to you.”
Who was I praying to anyhow? Are my prayers for the benefit of others, or is it really God I’m addressing?
– I’ve been meditating on the scriptures preceding The Lord’s Prayer. (Matt.6:5-8) I have come to a measure of peace with the way God made me.
– I asked my pastor about it, and he said “your public prayers are a reflection of your private prayers.” His council started me on a journey of privately praying a lot more than I ever had before. My public prayers haven’t changed much, but I’m ok with that.
– Every night when I awake in the wee hours, I’ve made it a habit to read the scriptures and pray rather than fret about the day. That’s when my head is clearest and everything comes into focus and makes sense to me, so it’s like giving God my very best time.
5 “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.
6 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
7 “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words.
8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.