Most of us remember that K.I.S.S. stands for Keep It Simple Silly (or Stupid, but some of us had mothers who wouldn’t allow us to call anyone Stupid so we had to change it to Silly.) Anyway, keep it simple. It is generally a good rule to follow. If we want to be heard and understood, we have to be able to express our thoughts so that others can understand them.
Just this morning I had an extremely frustrating experience trying to communicate with a “live chat” person who was trying to do customer service. “Live chat” probably works pretty well as long as your issue is common, something they know how to deal with and how to talk about. But my issue apparently was not common and I had a terrible time trying to get them to understand what had happened and my concern about that. They repeatedly told me that couldn’t happen (insert comical drawing of me with wide open eyes and steam coming out of my ears here.) Obviously it could happen, because it did happen.
Then they tried to tell me that I could just go in and change it back to what it should be. Okay, I’m happy to do that, but who changed it in the first place? And just exactly what are they doing messing with my account? THAT was my problem and I guess I didn’t do a very good job getting that across. After talking to two different representatives I gave up and asked to talk to a supervisor by phone. Yeah, I’m still waiting for that call.
This was all the more frustrating because I usually don’t have this much of a problem communicating with people. I do try to keep it simple. I do understand that things go wrong and mistakes are made and that what we need to figure out is out to correct it. But sometimes we need to know how it happened in the first place so we know how to keep it from happening again. In situations like this, a lot of big words just get in the way.
I know plenty of people who use a lot of big words. They think their long and fancy phrases will draw attention to themselves and get them preferential treatment. Maybe that works with other people, but with God, not so much.
Matthew 6: 7-8 says, “When you are praying, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” Jesus said this to his disciples when they asked him to teach them to pray. Then he taught them what we have come to know as the Lord’s Prayer as an example of saying what needs to be said and then stopping.
God already knows both what we want and what we need, so why pray at all? I believe it is because prayer doesn’t change God’s mind, prayer changes us. It allows us to be clear with ourselves and those around us about what we want and need, and about what needs to be done for those things to happen. Sometimes we get the idea that prayer is a way to give God a “to do” list, but God doesn’t need us to tell God what to do. God knows what to do. Sometimes what God does is not what we want. Sometimes what God does is not in the time frame we have in mind (which for us often means immediately.) Sometimes what we want isn’t actually good for us. Sometimes what we think we need is not what we actually need. And sometimes those things that need to be done, need to be done not by God but by us.