Remember when the Psalmist David wrote, "Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth" (Ps. 86:11)? He was probably referring to the things he learned both through experience and meditation after he had prayed. He seemed to keep asking God to "Hear my prayer."
I learn a lot through my private prayer life, especially when I can just grow quiet and talk to the Father as a son would talk. Do you? It's after the prayer, when I reflect on our conversation, that I most often "hear" from God or, at least, find direction.
When I pray, I find myself somewhat removed from the norm of my everyday activity. All formality aside, I just communicate my feelings and often my frustration. In the end, I don't ask for much. I just talk and, then, when it is over (my part), I listen.
There were a lot of years in which I was guided by the "A-C-T-S" formula for praying. But as the years have passed, my time with the Lord is less emotional, not as animated, and much more conversational. I still wonder why we make such a "show" of prayer in public and why we need to pray so predictably.
I read again today Matthew, chapter 6, and our Lord's instruction regarding simple prayer. Remember what He said before He taught them how to pray?
"And when you come before God, don't turn that into a theatrical production either. Here's what I want you to do: find a quiet, secluded place so you won't be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense His grace" (Matt. 6:6 — The Message).
I find that the wording of Matthew 6:6 in The Message says it the way I need to hear it. It will say about the same in whatever Bible you read. Keep it simple!
[by H.B. London]