You may not find me every Sunday sitting on the front row pew.
There are other ways of praying, I believe we still get through.
Down a road less traveled, I let go of a lot.
That’s just my way of talking to God.

I don’t need a cathedral or tabernacle choir.
A mountain stream, cold and clean, gets me inspired.
Standing in rainstorm, now some might think it odd.
But it’s just my way of talking to God.

(lifted from the song)


Just love those lines. I am not one for tradition when it comes to communicating with God. Not that I am against praying in cathedrals and church buildings, but like Shelton, I feel more comfortable talking to God in informal settings. It is in those secret places (away from prying eyes and eavesdropping ears), that I am at more liberty to let out everything. Furthermore, it curbs any temptation of attempting to perform in an effort to demonstrate faith, knowing that you are in a group of other believers. Sometimes, the pressure of not wanting to be seen as a greenhorn or less holy could not be helped. Once, I gave in to those pressures during a public prayer. Was I relieved? A little, yes. Eventually, God called me out for it. Gently, he said,

“Child, why were you delivering an oratory earlier?”

He knew me and how I would normally talk to him. Rebuked, I determined to never repeat the same mistake of merely talking at God instead of to and with him.

If praying is simply talking to God, then there is no need for hifalutin’, lengthy, and sometimes needlessly sermon-type expressions of our thoughts and feelings. Believe me, God prefers to hear the real us. It does not matter whether you stammer a lot, not articulate enough, or could only utter short breathes of prayers. To God, he would trade a hundred years for those few minutes or seconds that you spoke with him.

So, thank you, Mr. Van Shelton. You put to words my stance in praying. Like you, I prefer my prayers to be private. Well, maybe not all, but at least most of it.