Forty nine year old George Sanders stands before a high school audience in Mendalhall High School, Mississippi to present a speech about his life and lessons learned along the way. He brings out a notepad and begins reading his written down speech. The audience listen to his words but it stirs nothing within them because his words are lifeless.
George’s words lack depth and are unable to penetrate to the spirit of his listeners because most of his energy is used up in reading carefully to ensure he gets the words right, leaving little energy to bring to life intuitively the experiences he wishes to share.
George, being an observant man, realizes his ineffectiveness and puts down his notepad. He seeks the audience’s pardon and starts his speech over. This time he allows the pictures of his life experiences arise within him first and then he simply clothes these pictures with the first words that come to mind. All his energy is used in calling these experiences to life and no energy is wasted in reading or memorization. The audience was so captivated by Mr. Sanders’ story that the thirty minutes allotted for questions and answers evolved into a two hour session.
What can we take from this in regards to prayer?
It is difficult to speak from the heart when reading or memorizing and only what comes from deep within has real life. We too can easily decipher the difference between a spontaneous prayer of gratitude and a prayer rattled off routinely. Words lacking life cannot ascend to the heights where HE to whom we pray resides.