Simple Prayer

There's something to be said for simple prayer.

As a pastor, I am aware that my life teaches. This is a frightening thought since I am all too aware of my deficiencies! I do feel a sense of responsibility for how I pray when I am in public, and particularly when I am leading my church family in prayer. I keep my prayers simple in public, and here's the reason why:

If I pray with poetic words and artfully crafted sentence structure that leads people through a flowery meadow of linguistic delight, it teaches those who struggle with prayer that only those with an excellent use of the English language and a grasp of deep theological truths can pray.

The rest remain silent.

I would rather hear the simple prayers of all the people whose hearts are joined to God than the craftsmanship of a few. I would rather hear prayer that struggles -- and even groans and babbles -- than prayer that is constructed to tantalize the ears of the hearer.

But perhaps I've missed the point altogether.

It's not about what I want to hear.

Jesus said, "When you pray, don't babble on and on, thinking your prayer will be heard because of your many words." Or the kinds of words...or rhythm, meter, or rhyme, perhaps. We should speak to God from our heart, beginning at home in our quiet places and extending to those who need our prayers in public spaces. It is our spirit and our heart which blesses the Hearer, not our lofty our persuasive speech.

Pray on, and struggle with it if you must.