Before you seek to hang me from the highest tree, hear me out. This came up in our discipleship class when we were discussing teaching new Christians the importance of praying out loud and public prayer.
It was a timely discussion. That very morning I had a head-against-the-wall experience when it dawned on me the futility of my own prayers.
I approach my personal prayer time in one of several ways; I will write out my prayers in a journal, different from this one; I will voice my prayers; I will simply journal my prayer as an entry on this blog in prose; or I will simply sit and let my heart do the talking.
The particular morning in reference, I was verbalizing my prayer and it suddenly dawned on me that my words where not at all synchronized with my heart. What I was saying had nothing to do with what I was thinking or feeling. It was as though I was trying to cover up my true thoughts and feelings with my rhetoric. Thinking perhaps God would not realize what I was doing.
There is little doubt, because of my own demented mind, that I am alone in this particular phenomenon, so I will share with you what I did. I merely shut up and let my heart do the talking. For some of what I was thinking was too shameful for me to speak and too painful for me to form into words.
In Psalm 19:14, the Psalmist said
“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.”
Is there a chance that he was undergoing the same type of masquerade? Then realizing that perhaps there were tawdry thoughts or submerged faults (v.12-13) and he best harmonize his words with what was going on in his heart? I tend to think so.
Speaking for no one but myself, this experience has both intimidated me and transformed me. It has opened me up to a whole new awareness of what it means to pray. I suspect my words will never be loud enough to drowned out the voice of my heart, that does not mean I will not try from time to time. It simply means I know how futile it will be.
Prayer as we often practice it, may not be necessary. Prayer as God hears it, needs no practice.