I once had a friend who was afraid to pray in front of people. She didn’t feel like she sounded “spiritual” enough. “I can’t pray like people in church,” she complained. Finally one day to help build her confidence, I convinced her that she should give it a try and pray at least in front of me. She finally agreed, held her palms together dramatically and began, “Oh, Lord Our Most Holy Exalted Father…” She threw in a couple of “thee’s” and “thou’s” as well as some additional grandiose words that I didn’t even know the meaning of. After she was done, she looked at me, grimaced, and said, “I told you so…”
I laughed, reminding her that few people today could pray in King James English as well as she did, and that God, not surprising, could understand our everyday English. I reassured her by telling her that if you can talk and hold a conversation with someone, then you already know how to pray. It’s not a good sign, I reminded her, if you’re more preoccupied with how you sound than what you’re actually saying to God.
Spiritual authenticity is about finding your voice. Speaking from your heart. Because that’s the only one that matters to God. And frankly, that’s what He finds beautiful.
“When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I tell you the truth, that is all the reward they will ever get. Matthew 6:5