“I thank thee O Lord that thou desirest to overthrow mine enemies and hitherto bring me unto riches and long life. Amen”
It’s been said that prayer is a window into a person’s spirituality.
We study the prayers of scripture and of great saints to gain spiritual insight, for inspiration, to discern theology. True.
However, are the prayers of our contemporaries a reflection of their actual spiritual state and theological position? Maybe. Sometimes.
The thing is, if you’re hearing someone pray (unless you’re spying on them) they know they’re not alone. And people with an audience pray differently.
In fact when people pray in public you can be pretty sure they’re thinking carefully about how they pray. Perhaps they’ve even prepared before hand.
If you’ve partaken in group prayer you may have heard people use prayer to, deliver a message to their audience, impress with their piety, seek acceptance within a community by choosing a particular style of praying, deceive by using prayers they think will convey a particular impression that is contrary to the truth.
It’s not that styling prayer according to the setting is necessarily wrong, it’s natural and in many situations expected and required. It’s just worthwhile noting that a person’s true character is often only revealed in solitude.