Two weeks ago my church's teaching pastor did a sermon on keeping prayer simple and honest.
Amybear has come to a couple of bible studies with me. I usually lead at least one group prayer there, either to start or close the lesson. One of the things she said that really struck me was that I "sound different" when I pray. Maybe it is just that when I pray I use my public address voice not my normal one. You know, talking from the diaphram not the throat. But I had to wonder whether I was being honest or open in my prayer or whether I was putting on a show.
Last week my senior pastor gave a sermon on using liturgy and written prayers to improve your prayer life. He said that this was an unusual thing for a Baptist to talk about, but that he had found it helpful himself. He also had noticed that many people good Baptist pray the same prayers week after week. As if they had a liturgy all their own.
I don't really have any interest in written prayers. Maybe I can write my own down, but I don't generally get much out of reading or praying through someone else's. I get bored and drift off. I feel like I'm going through the motions or putting on an appearance before God. It just doesn't feel like me. On the other hand I do notice I have self-made liturgies. I am definite one of those people who prays similar prayers on a regular basis. I had to wonder whether I was getting myself into a prayer rut through my own poor prayer habits. As if I was robbing my prayers of genuineness through the other extreme.
I must say that my own prayer life is obviously pretty mixed. I think where I need to go next is to invest more time into prayer and also focus more on having a conversation with God. Talking with him instead of talking to him or at him. No formal language, just talking with God about my day in much the same way I talk with Amybear when I get home from work. Moreover I need to include important components like listening into my prayer times.