Interesting little article by Tony Jones on prayer. Click here for the full e-article. He argues that in many places, prayer has become far too informal. He argues for reverent and conversational prayer, but not informal prayer. Here are some excerpts:
In two decades of youth ministry, I’ve heard a lot of
conversational prayers to Father Weejus. You know, "Father Weejus ask that you’d
be here tonight, and Weejus hope you’ll really bless our time." I’ve heard a lot
of unnecessary "justs" and "reallys" over the years, and inappropriate uses of
the subjunctive mood ("We pray you would move your people and you
would do your will …").
I’m all for conversational prayer. But a lot of it is sloppy,
which, I’m afraid, has been bred by too much informality…
So I work amid younger Christians who, on one hand, appreciate
the informality with which they can speak to God. But we also get it when Kevin
Smith, in his hilarious (and outrageous and filthy) film Dogma mocks that image of Jesus with his "Buddy Christ," a
life-sized statue of a smiling, thumbs-up Jesus meant to replace the wholly
depressing Catholic crucifix.
Smith’s postmodern irony makes a salient point: modern
Christianity has emphasized the immanence of our Savior, but, pushed too far, we
are in danger of making the God of the universe little more than our buddy. Or,
worse, as sociologist Christian Smith has found, many churched teenagers pray as
if God is little more than a "Cosmic Butler," awaiting their next request for
What do you think? Has prayer become too informal? Or, is it still too formal? Or, do you think it’s just about right. The venue and occasion for prayer may make a difference in your answer…but I’m inquiring of prayer in general.