You don’t even realize how strange prayers sound and how awkwardly formal they can become until you speak audibly to God in a public place, with hundreds of people walking by you. Your first fear in public is that people think you are a lunatic just talking, let alone using words or phrases that aren’t your everyday conversations like ; guide me, give me wisdom, fill me, restore to me, seek you, repent etc etc.
To me there is a need absolutely for reverence in prayer, we aren’t to become such “buddies” with God, that we forget who He actually is. Yes He calls us friends, yes we can be honest with Him, and say it how it is. But when we begin to down talk God in order to be “friendly” then we have an issue.
What is called for in our prayers is honesty. Oft times, that means just expressing to God exactly what it is we are feeling, no fancy words, no impressive thoughts, no formality, just raw honest you. Like we see David did in the Psalms so often. But what I love about that is, though he was raw, honest, and spoke his mind and frustrations to God, he kept his reverence for God.
David always recognized God as Holy, so even when he does complain or question God, he still in that same prayer attributes all the great things to God, and even tells God who He is, which reminds David of who he himself is. I think this may be where we go off at times. We may find it hard to be raw, honest or friends with God, while keeping a holy fear of Him in our prayers.
Im not suggesting there is anything wrong with formality in prayer, I’m probably the worst person I know for it. But I do recognize that sometimes I/ we are so focused on getting the words right, or it sounding ok, that we miss it all together. Our prayers are not for Gods benefit, they are for ours.
Listen as you pray next time, see how raw, honest, or maybe irreverent you are. Or perhaps your on the other end of the spectrum, maybe you are too formal, so much so that you miss that friendship with Him, the intimacy with the Almighty.