God knows when we are talking to Him, and when we are just talking to be heard.
But I came pretty close the other night at a New Year's worship event at my church. It went something like this:
"Lord, may we not sing these songs without letting the truths found in them affect us, and when we meet together in a year from now may we still hold these truths..."
Now if you know anything about the Declaration of Independence, you can tell how I almost fell into that trap... almost. To my own relief, and despite my own default way of making things political, I did not continue on by saying, "to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable" blah blah blah... you get the point. Nope, I fought that urge, and instead leaned away from the microphone to laugh at myself, because really, who quotes Thomas Jefferson during prayer... I mean, besides Tea Partiers?
In my own defense, I majored in history and political science, and it somehow sneaks its way into other areas of my life. I am glad only a few people noticed, and that even fewer of them knew exactly what I was thinking. So with this in mind, I've come up with a three step way to keep yourself from quoting historical documents during worship prayer.
Step 1 Don't bring your constitution with you to church. That is all i'm going to say about that...
Step 2 Stay focused when you pray. It is really annoying to talk with someone who can't focus on the conversation, at least that is what people keep telling me. Yeah, some of us have pre-existing conditions when it comes to our ability to focus, but when it comes to prayer, if we are not focused on having a real conversation with God, we are going to go down some bizarre rabbit trails.
Step 3 Be genuine. God knows when we are talking to Him and when we are just talking to be heard. Sometimes I think we use prayer as a type of transition in church. "We are done with the songs part of the service, so let's end it with prayer so the band can exit from the stage unnoticed... as if when we open our eyes after prayer we look frantically for where they have all gone." Or, "we are going to eat now and we need to talk to God because that is what we have always done." I am not saying that praying during these moments is a bad thing, but if we are doing it out of habit without a genuine heart of prayer, we are just talking. Auto-pilot prayers leave us saying things don't reflect our heart, this is something I need to work on when praying in public.
What do you think?