I want to have a fresh approach in my walk with Christ. The pasty, predictable clichés many evangelicals use in talking to God have no appeal. I want to talk to Him as I generally talk to my wife – open and freely, with every word of my conversation being born spontaneously fresh, with nothing borrowed from anyone else's smaltz or saccharine.

Still, there's a simple colloquial joy in gathering around some old thumb-worn phrases that form our particular kind of Protestant Latin. I sometimes find my adoration to Christ trapped in the muck of so many inherited saws. How many times have we heard someone pray, "Lord, hide our preacher behind the cross and fill him with Your Spirit. Help him to open Your word and bring Pentecostal fire into this place. Forgive us of all our sins and shortcomings, and guard, guide, and direct us. Deliver sinners from a devil's hell. Bless all the missionaries in foreign climes and all those for whom it is our duty to pray."

One reason we use clichés is that to say it any other way seems artificial. I could, for instance, say, "I expressed credulity in Jesus as a noble man and experienced involuntary new being." But it's just easier to say, "I accepted Christ and was born again." We might get around the hackneyed by saying, "Why don't we offer verbal exhaltations to the Sovereign of our Souls." But frankly, "Let's just praise the Lord," seems better. In many cases, the clichés are cleaner, more communicative, and better understood than what we would have to contrive to get around them.

Now, of course, clichés are not inherently false and they may be, and often are, prayed in utter sincerity. Yet they are usually words that we learned somewhere else from someone else's pilgrimage. After all there have been many times when we've seen one set of footprints and knew we'd been touched by the Master's hand. And since then we've just been praisin' the Lord, cause we know that where we go hereafter depends on what we go after here. We ain't what we oughta' be, we ain't what we're gonna' be, we ain't what we wanna' be, but thank God we ain't what we used to be, ever since we learned that we had to either turn or burn. The key to our faith is that we had to stop trying and start trusting, 'cause in this life you either gotta' get right or get left. Since we got the joy of the Lord we've been shoutin', happy, and lookin' for the rapture. So, we've found a hiding place, along with all of those who've been saved, sealed, and delivered. But P.T.L! I sure do talk the talk best when I walk the walk, wearing my W.W.J.D. bracelet. One day at a time, that's how I do it. After all, what you can't bless, you'd better confess. And I'm gonna' keep on keepin' on 'till we all gather at the river and I get the starch in my gown and the stars in my crown. 'Cause I know we're gonna' all meet again, here, there, or in the air.

When you're waiting for that midnight cry, you don't want to be left behind in this present darkness. Isn't the Lord wonderful? He sure is! And the longer we serve Him the sweeter He grows.

I've spent a long time learning to talk the way I do. Nothin' wrong with how I talk, and if it ain't broke, don't fix it. So, until there's a new paradigm or two, I guess I'll go on livin' out my own way of bein' true. I'm not as original as I want to be, but I'm just gonna keep praisin' my Lord, till the devil's on the run, and the saints go marchin' in. After all, when Jesus is Lord and the church is triumphant, it's pretty hard to talk completely normal.

    About the Author

  • Calvin Miller