Care to rephrase that?

Words can really enliven us, and they can also put us to sleep.  Consider this thought-provoking anecdote:

In high school I determined never to pray with the language, terms and clichés I heard in public prayers.  I learned to rephrase common needs, concerns, and ideas.  –Bailey McBride, Christian Chronicle, November 2010

Years ago, I regularly heard in assemblies the public prayer-words of a guy I believed was sincere.  And I almost made him an enemy by suggesting to him that he consider an alternative to his habitual introductory phrase:  “hallowed be Thy great and holy name.”  Those words, of course, were well-intended and reverent, “placing” God in one of His rightful places.  Yet they turned me off.

I still believe we need to avoid clichés.  And the clichés we set up for ourselves are just as dangerous to our spirituality as the ones that the broader world experiences.


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