When I started leading worship at South Wilson, I really wanted to be great at praying out loud. It wasn’t my only motivation, but I really wanted the praise team and any church members that overheard the Sunday morning pre-service prayer to think “Man, that Zach guy can really pray. He sounds like a professional pray-er.” To date, this has never happened. In fact, my praying suffers when I’m trying to be the best in the room. It’s only when I drop the act and just talk to God that I feel like I’m getting somewhere.
9 He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: 10 “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”Luke 18:9-14, ESV
Jesus reminds us through the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector in Luke 18 that it doesn’t matter who can hear you. It doesn’t even necessarily matter what you say. The tax collector humbled himself before the Lord and went away justified. When we go to God in prayer, we should seek to make less of ourselves and more of the God who hears us.