“Talking to God personally differs entirely from trying to put the Almighty under our thumbs with prayer born of magic and ritual. Yet many people, ancient and modern, have treated prayer more as incantation than dialogue. … Practices of prayer akin of magic persist widely in the Christian movement. For example, some pray as if they will be heard the better for their flowery language or impassioned style. Others insist that certain postures, patterns, and phrases must be used if prayer is to be effective. Still others presume on grace, thinking that by “laying claim” to “promises” they find in Scripture, they put God under obligation to do as they ask.
In such sub-Christian and unbiblical expressions of prayer, what once may have been vital has degenerated into idle form. Biblical prayer is personal, not magical; dialogue, not demand.” – Howard Macy, Rhythms of the Inner Life