Once we learn to worry less about the logistics of prayer, we can enjoy it for what it is: communication and communion with our Creator. This doesn’t mean we should disregard what God might be calling us to do at any moment.
For example, if we have been asked to pray at a large community function, we might not want to spend all of our time thanking God for the blessings He has poured into our personal lives. Instead, we should understand God has given us an opportunity to help our audience catch a glimpse of His heart. As well, when we are kneeling beside a dying brother or sister in Christ, we might not want to focus on government and world affairs, but rather the immediate hope we find in Jesus.
Some people are uncomfortable with public prayers because they seem to be more about what others hear than what we honestly need to be discussing with God. But this doesn’t have to be the case. Before I pray publicly, especially at non-religious events, I spend personal time with God asking Him how I can use my words to draw others to Him. I will confess, sometimes I circumvent this step and my prayers before others feel formal and cold. Yet, when I talk with God first about how He might want to use me, it is no longer me but rather the two of us coming before the world to call people home.
Prayer is always about what God wants. If I remember this, I can expect Him to use my conversation with Him in many ways to accomplish His will on earth. I take my cue from Jesus who cried out in the midst of His anguish, “Not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42).