Husbands, how would you like to come to breakfast every morning only to have your wife serve you your eggs and toast while reading all her comments and conversation to you?
Well, I imagine God doesn't like being read to, either.
Years ago, thanks to an invitation by Texas Rep. Jim Pitts, I had the honor of being "pastor of the day" at the Texas House of Representatives. I was all dressed up in my best olive green suit, with white shirt and tie, and ready to pray for the House.
A grumpy looking little woman came to me and snapped, "I need the transcript of your prayer?"
What I replied was probably not considered discreet or polite, but I told her, "Ma'am, I don't write to God, I talk to Him."
They agreed to just let me pray just as if I were opening Wednesday night services at my church. I asked Rep. Pitts how long I should pray.
"Well, a good rule of thumb is -- for every 30 seconds you pray, you kill one bill," he answered, laughing.
Seriously, when you pray, talk to God. Don't worry about grammar, voice inflections, or using regular jargon. And for goodness sakes, don't pray generic prayers -- i.e. "Lord, bless all the sick and afflicted, and all the missionaries on foreign soil. . ."
In the movie, "Bruce Almighty", Jim Carrey's character got killed by being hit by a truck. In Heaven, he was talking to God - who was portrayed by Morgan Freeman.
Freeman told him, "Let me hear you pray."
"OK," said Carrey. "'Lord, please bring peace to all mankind.' How was that?"
"Great," replied Freeman. "If you want to be Miss America."
I shared that to illustrate the fact that often when we are called on to pray, publicly, we are more concerned about impressing the dignitaries and English teachers in the room rather than just pouring our hearts out to God.
Jesus set the example when it came to specifically praying to God from a heart of sincerity. He prayed, the night before His crucifixion, "Father, if it be thy will, let this cup pass from me; Nevertheless, not my will, but thy will be done."
King David prayed in Psalm 51, "Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation and uphold me with thy free spirit; then will I teach transgressors thy ways and sinners shall be converted unto thee."
We have a wonderful gentleman in our church who genuinely talks to God when he prays. One Sunday morning he began his prayer, "Dear God -- our country is in a real mess!"
When you pray -- talk to God. Tell Him what's on your heart and mind. Forget about rhetoric, religious buzz words or jargon. Ask Him specifically for what you think you need. When you do, He will give you a specific answer.