Friday, August 15, 2014

A Very Short Thought about the Language of Prayer

Public prayers are for the public, so it is reasonable to use what the listening public considers to be "formal" language if that's what the group is expecting. Otherwise, they are thinking about the pronouns used in the prayer, rather than its content - and that never should be the focus of attention during a prayer.

However, behind closed doors, so long as the prayer is honest and the attempt to connect to God is sincere, I don't believe the pronouns matter much.

Frankly, I use both the "you" and the "thee" pronouns fluently, so I say whatever comes out when I pray privately.  Sometimes, I don't even bother addressing Heavenly Father, since I believe he knows I'm praying to him. 


Anonymous said...

I don't believe, in Elder Oaks' talk on the sacred language of prayer, that he differentiated between public and private prayers. I joined the church as an adult of 18, and have no problem using the formal language of prayer. My wife and I taught our children to pray (age appropriately) using the special language of prayer, and they don't have a problem with it. I don't know why so many people struggle with it. I think God hears our prayers regardless of the language used. But, until I hear differently from church authorities, I think I'll stick to what has been encouraged.

Prayer said...

My personal prayers have become so much more meaningful since I have stopped using formal language and some other conventions and vain repetitions. Others are free to do whatever they want, and I'm grateful that my private prayers are private so that other people won't try to exercise control over how I talk to God.

PS. This is my first time commenting on your blog, but I want to thank you for many of the things you've written in the past. I find your perspective refreshing and spiritual.