Does the thought of learning to pray out loud fill you with anxiety? Even just thinking about it makes your heart beat faster, you start sweating, or you become overwhelmed with fear. You think to yourself, I’m not very good at praying, I don’t know what to say, or my prayers are too short.
Can you relate?
Being uncomfortable praying out loud is really common. But did you know that praying out loud, in groups or even with a friend, can exponentially grow your faith? All it takes is some practice and motivation, so here are some reasons why you should pray out loud and how to start.
External declarations can change your internal dialogue. When we pray for things out loud, we change our internal dialogue and posture. Praying things like, “Jesus, You are enough,” or “God is greater than my grief,” will build your faith and help change the way you view things.
Keeps you awake. Jesus taught us our spirit might be willing, but our flesh is weak. If you’re prone to falling asleep during prayer, like Jesus’ disciples did in Mark 14:37-38, learning to pray out loud will help you stay awake. You’re more likely to stay awake through prayer when your brain is listening to what your mouth is saying.
Sets the standard in your house. If we want our households to serve the Lord, we must set an example through our relationships with Jesus. Kids need to hear us praying outside the church walls. The same is true if you live with an unbelieving spouse, parent, or friend.
Practice for when you are called upon in public. Like anything, we practice behind the scenes to get better for those moments we’re in public. It’s uncomfortable to be asked to pray for people and not know what words to say. Praying out loud privately helps us get comfortable with the sound of our own voice. Repetition gives us the confidence to approach God in public.
Encourages each other. Praying in a community of people draws the Lord in and builds our faith. In the book of Matthew, Jesus told us there is power when we pray in groups, and there’s purpose when we make declarations out loud.
Praying out loud is a bold move in your faith. When you unashamedly confess Jesus as your Savior, the enemy’s grip on your problem loses its power. Praying out loud is an internal decision to speak a bold declaration that Jesus sits on the throne, high above your struggles.
So where can you begin?
Start when you’re alone. This may seem awkward at first, so try it behind closed doors where no one is listening or when everyone else has left the house. You can even do this in the car on your way to work or the grocery store.
Whether this is your first time or you simply hit a rut in your prayer life, all it takes is practice. It gets easier and more comfortable the more you pray out loud.
Here are some cues to kickstart your out-loud prayers:
Use an outline for your prayer. One way to pray follows the ACTS model:
- Adoration: Praise God for who He is.
- Confession: Confess your sins and ask for His forgiveness.
- Thanksgiving: Thank God for His protection and provision.
- Supplication (an appeal to God): Make your requests known.
Create a prayer list. It can be immensely helpful to write down what you want to pray about before you get started. Use a journal to keep track of your prayers. To encourage your faith, take it a step further and mark the date your prayer is answered or follow up with an entry about God’s alternate plan.
Read Scripture out loud. David wrote many of the Psalms as prayers, so it’s a good place to start. Here are a few of our favorites: Psalm 30, Psalm 51, Psalm 63, Psalm 91, Psalm 139, and Psalm 145.
Keep it short. We can get caught up in the length of our prayers and struggle to come up with words to fill the silence. There is no rule on how long your prayer should be. There is no benefit to babble. God sees the heart of your prayers. Stretching them out for the sake of filling time is unnecessary.
Pray like you. God created you to communicate in a unique way. Don’t get caught up trying to say the “right” things, using “fancy” Christian terms, or praying like someone else. Prayer is meant to be a personal conversation with God—like you would have with friends, family, or a mentor. Let go of how you think you should pray and just be you.
Put on worship music. Let the lyrics take the place of your words when you have nothing to say. As you learn the lyrics, begin to sing them out loud as prayers.
Prayer changes things, but it changes us more. Learning to pray out loud can transform what we believe and how we act when trouble comes. When you pray out loud, you are declaring victory by faith.