When I was a young disciple, I heard from someone who was supposed to be more mature and experienced in the Christian life the following defense of silent prayer: “When you pray, do not do it out loud, because the devil, our enemy, can hear your prayer and find out your weaknesses and consequently tempt you in those areas. When you pray, do it in your mind and heart, so only God can listen to you.” I knew that this advice sounded weird, but I could not contradict it at that time, nor could I obey it, since it did not feel right.
3. Prayer is a conversation with God (out loud)
It seems to me that many people nowadays have the same philosophy about prayer. Or maybe they do not want to say a prayer out loud because they feel uncomfortable with the idea that they are throwing words in the air, talking to themselves.
The Holman dictionary defines prayer as: “PRAYER: Dialogue between God and people, especially His covenant partners.” Mounce’s Expository Dictionary writes this about the word in the Old Testament and New Testament: “ tᵉpillâ is a common word in the OT for “prayer, intercession, petition”. “deēsis is a “prayer, petition, supplication” based on a person’s need—in the NT always addressed to God.”
As you can see prayer is a conversation, dialogue, petition, addressed to God. It does not mean that you cannot pray in silence, depending on the circumstances. It means that the regular or normal way of praying is to pronounce the words out loud.
In the Scriptures we see that happening through songs, regular prayers, crying, and accompanied with gestures. Of course those expressions will be different according to the culture. But, the bottom line is that prayer is opening our mouths and communicating with God. This is what we find in the Psalms: “Answer me when I call to you, O my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; be merciful to me and hear my prayer. Psalm 4:1.” And in the New Testament we find Jesus saying this: “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. Matthew 6:6.”
I would like to challenge you to try that, if you never did it before. Find a place where you can be alone with the Lord, and say a prayer out loud. Some of you will feel uncomfortable at the beginning. Do not forget that God is there listening to your words. This exercise is very powerful. It will help you to realize that you are talking with God, and even though He is invisible. He is still present. Try to do that on a regular basis. Start with a few minutes and gradually add more time, and you will see an improvement in your spiritual life. The next step would be to do that with your spouse and children.
Prayer is an essential aspect of our Christian growth. There is no real Christian life without prayer life. So, take some time during the day, in the morning, in the middle, and before going to bed, and raise your voice to God in prayer.
Have a blessed week,