The other day I heard, I think on the radio, someone say something like, "you can tell a persons theology by their prayers." This quote has bugged me every since I heard it. I am sure the person was well meaning and in context it probably made a lot of sense but it felt a little belittling to me. You see, I don't do fancy prayers. I barely pray out loud in groups. I love to pray with groups, I think it is powerful, but I am not one of those pray out loud people. I feel too self conscious I suppose or confused, or frankly, I worry that what I am going to say will be slightly off topic or theologically confused. So when I do stick my neck out to pray in a group, which I have had to learn to do as I have been in leadership positions at our church, I keep it pretty short and simple. I stick closely to the point.
When I am home alone my prayers are not short and simple. Just like I write, I ramble when I am with God. And since I often write out prayers you can imagine how they go.
I didn't go to bible school, I haven't taken a bunch of theology courses. I don't even really like to read theology books. One of my spiritual gifts is faith. I believe Jesus Christ is the son of God. I believe he died and was raised from the dead. I believe he was tempted but never sinned. I believe he did this all for me. I believe that the bible is true. I believe that all the details big and small that fall between are just that, details. And I am just not that detail oriented. I really don't care if you baptize your baby or wait until they can profess faith. I don't know how deciding if I am pre or post trib will change any aspect of how I live my life. And I don't appreciate the pressure of worrying that the way I pray in a group will define the depth and truth of my faith.
My prayer style started when I was in 3rd or 4th grade and our Sunday School teacher was talking to us about prayer. She said to talk to God like he was a friend. It totally changed my relationship with God. Prior to that my prayers were like reading off a check list. "Dear God, I pray for..." But she taught me I could just talk to God, tell him about my day, ask him questions, be casual and friendly. "Hey God, What up?" And although I have come to understand my place in this relationship better and develop more of a respect for him and his authority in my life as I have gotten older, those casual conversations with a friend are still what work best for me. When I am talking to friends I don't speak in Old English, I don't generally quote scripture or any other written work, I don't follow any sort of formal agenda. I just share what is on my mind. Relationships are two way streets so I am aware of what he wants and needs from me and aim to give it to him because that is part of talking to a friend and being in a relationship.
So maybe my prayers do reflect my theology. A very simple and straight forward belief. Just know that my theology does not come from a lack of depth, or thought on the topic but from a desire to focus more on knowing God and a total disinterest in details. I figure if I start too far down the wrong path, my good friend Jesus will not be afraid to hip check me back over to the right road. Never has been before.