Attending a celebration meal recently, I found myself struggling with something that has become “quite common.” On two different occasions that evening, different persons were asked to pray and they proceeded to bow their heads and, functionally, give announcements, talk directly to the audience present, speak “about prayer” with their words while not actually ever talking to God! While their words revealed that they were capable of “waxing eloquent” for those present, the prayer lacked for its’ purpose. Don’t get me wrong, I love prayer but when it is focused on those present and not God, it comes across as a performance-based activity and not a moment of worship or praise. True prayer doesn’t need to be “impressive” but merely be honest and personal. The only goal needs to be that we focus on God and talk with Him as we share our hearts. On that Sunday evening, I had to beg God’s forgiveness as our focus missed the goal of praise, supplication, or anything that was tied to communication or respect of our Heavenly Father.
According to what I see in Matthew 6:5-7, it is clear that prayer should be done by us with humility. I could wish that at any time, we might be able to turn to a brother/sister and ask them to pray for us knowing that he/she would welcome the opportunity to boldly lead us toward our Lord with their words. Unknown to me is when in history we allowed religious terminology to begin substituting for personal communication with our creator! Heart-felt fellowship with the Lord should always be our goal.