Some humans are vain.
Many of those in power demand privileges for themselves, titles, honours and many more. Kings and sultans demand extensive protocols and sometimes even expect people to bring their hands together on their foreheads as a way to be greeted.
But if people call us by a nice title, our ego grows a bit and the more we let our ego grow, the sooner we will demand more titles and more honours and protocol
The worst part of vanity is if we project these feelings on our Creator, our God. And that is perhaps the worst thing about vanity. We think our God, so powerful, is basking in glory when receiving our elaborate praise. The Creator of the world is not vain. If we need to perform an elaborate protocol for a royalty for a top notch politician, our God is much more powerful and it must be our God requires a lot more protocol. The big problem lies in giving human traits to our Creator, in projecting vanity of rulers on the Divine. Our Creator has no anger (see previous reflection), our Creator has no vanity, our Creator does not demand protocols like top vain politicians, like top vain royalties.
We were given prayer and have quickly transformed it in a routine, in a kind of protocol, often performed without even thinking what is the meaning we want to convey. Religious leaders have transformed guidelines in strict prescriptions. If their prescriptions are not followed from a to z, they claim that surely our prayers will be annihilated, rejected by our Creator, on whom many leaders project a boatload of vanity and by doing so distance themselves so far away from our Creator. Prayer is still a gift of God to us. It is an opportunity to get closer to our Creator. Perhaps best done in a very quiet place and time. Sure it feels good to pray on and off together with our fellow believers. Good. But let us understand the purpose and meaning of prayer. It is not to please a vain God, it is a gift we accept a wonderful opportunity to get a bit closer to our God who is most gracious and most merciful.
It is good to follow the guidelines given through prophets, like fasting, prayers and much more but we have to realise that these are things we do for ourselves. Whatever we do, does not affect God. How, as a small human we can affect God, we can only through our devotion allow God to affect us.