Maybe I’m alone in this but sometimes I question the way I pray. I’ll say things to God that I would never say to a person. Sometimes I speak in a soft and wimpy tone but other times I’ll get fired up like a warrior. I I’ll used words like “Father God” every second as if He doesn’t already know I’m speaking to Him. I even find myself using words like “fleshly”, “service” and “nourishment”. I used to credit the strange language as “holy talk” or “this is how you speak to God”. However, over the past few years I’ve become more aware of strange this language was.
The upcoming Christian generation is well aware that this “christianese” language is awkward in conversations but we still have a tendency to resort back to it when talking to God. In other words, you would see me saying “what a glorious day God has given us” but when I pray I might say something like, “Dear Lord, thank You for a glorious, wonderful, marvelous day!”. Why do we do that? Doesn’t the Lord speak our language? Do we really need to speak to Him like we’re, dare I say, “holy”?
There’s a few verses in the Bible (notice I didn’t say “scriptures”) That I’d like to share. It might help you realize what I’ve discovered over the past few years.
“When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I tell you the truth, that is all the reward they will ever get.
Well hey, I do that sometimes. I’m a pastor so I’m expected to pray in front of people regularly. Obviously I need to fulfill my job requirements but the way I do it can be improved. See, I really don’t need to use “holy” language when I pray in front of people because I can be myself. By using religious words I’m sending a hidden agenda, that I’m religious. I really don’t desire that but sometimes my public prayer sends a different message. Something I need to work on.
Another verse I found helpful during this discover is;
“When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.
This can also apply to praying. Am I really upset? Is my tone genuine? Sometimes we pray like we’re on the verge of tears. Heck. I’m not saying don’t cry when you pray! Just be genuine when you pray! Don’t put on a show for everyone so they know you’re serious.
In the end we need to just be ourselves. I’ve made it a habit to pray during the day in a “conversational” way. For example; “I’m dying here. I need you to help me out because I’m about to wring that persons neck!”.. He’s God. He doesn’t need you to put on a show. I realize you can’t really apply that example to a public prayer but that’s still not an excuse to get “holier than thou” on everyone.
Many people in the bible had conversations with God. So if you’re still struggling with this topic, just remember….
Pray like you’re having a conversation with God.