This is rather an ongoing mulling-it-over process for me, but one of the things that really bugs me about many modern prayers is the language in which they're written. It's not the English that gets my goat, but the academic buzzwords (and there's a whole other rant there about academics who hijack perfectly good words for their own nefarious agendas). I can (and am forced to) read this sort of writing in my courses at the university--I'd rather it not be thrust into my prayers. These words are simultaneously politically charged and devoid of true meaning. And to top it all off, they lack beauty and impact. This, I think, is one of the reasons why many modern prayers and hymns ring hollow and leave me thinking, "What on earth did we just say?"
I don't want to pray to God, my Heavenly Father, that I wish Him to 'empower' me to become an 'agent of social change.' I don't want to 'engage in meaningful dialogue' with the saints. I don't want to sing about 'embracing diversity' in our one sappy 'community' (although I suppose I might deserve that one for going to a 'worship space' rather than a church). The intent
of these phrases is often laudable (though all too often highly agenda-ized), but the expression of that intent is gag-worthy.
Give me the Our Father
or Hail Mary
, or prayer to St. Michael the Archangel, or Eternal Rest
, etc.) any day.