I have to admit to a struggle that I had with prayer for many years: I could not pray out loud. That may not sound like a big deal to some of you, but I also know some of you know exactly what I am talking about. During my late teen years I was living an ungodly life and prayer was not important to me unless I was blaming God for all the bad things happening in my life.
After I rededicated my life to God, prayer became very important to me. It was a very sacred communion between my Father in heaven and me. I had a lot of stuff that I was dealing with and it was just between me and God. I also felt insecure because I thought that I was not praying right. No one taught me how to pray so I was not sure if I was doing it right or not. All I knew is that I had to say, “In Jesus name, Amen” at the end (Jn. 14:13-14).
So here I am working at a Christian sports resort and every morning all the staff that worked in the gymnastics tent with me would gather in a circle for a time of prayer. After a few weeks I felt that the other staff were becoming frustrated with me because I was the only one who would not pray out loud.
I was praying with them in my head and heart, but I sensed that they wanted more from me. This was becoming a huge inner struggle for me. Sometimes I would purposely be late so that I would miss the prayer time and not feel that I was letting everyone down by not praying audibly. I spent a lot of time in prayer with God about my inability to share my words to Him out loud.
Eventually, I had to face the music. The staff in the gymnastics tent began asking me why I did not pray with them and I told them about my inhibitions. They understood and told me that whenever I was ready I was welcome to pray out loud. Until then I continued to pray silent prayers in my heart.
Well, the day finally came. I built up enough nerve and let the words fly. All the staff were so excited that I had broken through this bondage that they all piled on me giving me hugs and words of encouragement. It was quite the scene because we were on top of a trampoline at the time and having people jumping up and down and hugging me made it a moment I will never forget. If you have ever played popcorn on a trampoline you will understand what it was like.
Praying out loud is not a requirement or a measurement of your relationship with your Father in heaven. Luke 5:16 says, “But Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer.”(see also Mk. 1:35; Lk. 6:12) Jesus gave instructions for prayer: “But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father secretly. Then your Father, who knows all secrets will reward you. When you pray, don’t babble on and on as people of other religions do. They think their prayers are answered only by repeating their words again and again. Don’t be like them, because your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him” (Mt. 6:6-8).
You need the quiet time with God so that you can be completely open and honest with Him. If you are mad at Him, tell Him. He knows your heart, so why not get everything out in the open and deal with it?
At times it may be helpful to pray out loud - for example, when you are praying for others so that they can be encouraged because they can hear exactly what you are praying for. In Matthew 18:19-20 Jesus says, “I also tell you this: If two of you agree down here on earth concerning anything you ask, my Father in heaven will do it for you. For where two or three gather together because they are mine, I am there among them.”
Prayer also involves listening, your Father is waiting to spend time with you. Choose to spend time with Him.