When you’re by yourself and trying to pray, it’s easy to get lost in your thoughts. Even if you have the discipline to turn off the music, the podcast, or the show you’re binging on Netflix to settle into some semblance of quiet, your spiraling thoughts will likely compete for your attention, and the temptation to reach for your phone will loom. When did carving out time to pray get so…difficult?
Newsflash: Praying isn’t difficult—we make it difficult.
Even as I sit here at my computer—praying that the Holy Spirit would speak through me and use my ramblings to glorify Him — there’s an urge to open another tab on my internet browser and mindlessly browse social media.
While there are a host of different reasons and excuses I could point to, this post is not about exploring why we have these tendencies. Rather, I’d like to build out three reasons why praying out loud is a healthy, edifying practice for anyone wanting to grow in their faith. This practice will help you still your heart and focus on the Father.
Note: I don’t claim this practice of praying out loud by yourself is the only way to talk to the Father. My hope and prayer are that this practice is an exercise of sorts—one that might build your confidence and stretch your prayer muscles.
Praying Out Loud Builds Up Your Faith
Look, when you’re having a conversation with someone, you talk out loud. You pause and listen to the other person when they’re sharing. This repeats over and over as you two continue your dialogue. Modeling your prayer this way will grow your faith. Praying out loud will reinforce the fact that you’re speaking with a God who loves to hear from you! The beautiful thing—and, frankly, the miraculous thing—about the Holy Spirit is that He takes our imperfect petitions and praise and makes them perfect before the Father. This gives us a license to cry out loud and exercise our emotions in the throne room of grace.
Praying Out Loud Makes Vulnerability Easier
If you’re anything like me, then vulnerability doesn’t come easy. Even if you’re an expert in the field, no one’s perfect and above growth. Period. Praying out loud will stretch you outside your comfort zone and help you practice vulnerability. To the watching world, the idea of praying out loud by yourself might sound foolish. You’ll likely be very self-aware the first time you pray out loud, but over time it will increase your ability to be vulnerable.
Praying Out Loud is Biblical
If you’re looking for someone to inspire you how to pray, you needn’t look further than the prayer warrior King David—who God Himself called a “man after my own heart.” David knew how to sin (don’t we all?), but boy did he know how to pray. Throughout the Book of Psalms, we have a picture of a repentant sinner pleading with the Father in raw, vulnerable ways. In Psalm 142:1–2 David writes, “With my voice I cry out to the Lord; with my voice I plead for mercy to the Lord. I pour out my complaint before him; I tell my trouble before him.” What’s David using here? Don’t miss it: his voice! We shouldn’t shy away from praying out loud because David prayed out loud.
Crawl, Walk, Run
If you’re still not convinced, perhaps try a crawl, walk, run approach to this practice. When you’re in the car driving, thank God out loud; when you have a moment to yourself at work, ask Him for peace; and when you’re lying down to go to bed, tell Him how much you love Him. Praying isn’t something we have to do, it’s something we get to do, and our Father loves hearing the sounds of our voices.