Are you comfortable praying aloud? Would you pray in front of your family? Friends? Church family? I’m not talking about those scripted prayers many of us have prayed with our children/grandchildren. Those prayers before meals and the nighttime prayers are easy to say aloud because someone else wrote the words. But when it comes to praying unscripted prayers aloud in front of others, it is frightening for many people.
Most of you probably answered no to the first question I asked. Once I would have said no as well. Speaking for myself (and for many of you) the reason is because I never thought I could pray as well as Pastor Dale does. I never thought I could use those “prayerful words” as Pastors do, or as those people who seem to be gifted when praying aloud. However, God doesn’t care! He wants you to pray like YOU! Prayer is simply a conversation with God. It’s a relationship you build with Him each time you pray.
You might be wondering how my thoughts about this changed and why I feel as I do now. Well, I just started. Now I talk to God just like I’d talk to a friend, a family member, or a trusted person. I don’t use fancy words or phrases, and there are times when I stumble over a word or zone-out while praying, but God doesn’t care. The only way to learn how to pray aloud with others is to just do it – just get started. Practice certainly helps, but how did I practice? I followed several steps, and I think this will be different for each person.
My first step was to go to God in prayer and ask Him for guidance and direction as I began. The first time I did this was at a prayer meeting. A while ago, Nancy Stevens created a prayer team, and one of us would be available after worship services to pray with anyone who came to the prayer room. We also held meetings at the church, and we would pray for our church’s needs and other needs from the group or the community. This was very much like our current Zoom Prayer Meetings on Monday nights that Pastor Dale now leads.
I don’t remember the specifics of the prayer I prayed that first time, but I took the chance and prayed aloud at our prayer meeting. Of course, there are those people who just won’t ever feel comfortable doing this, and that’s certainly okay. However, in my experience, I can say it’s a great way to witness for the Lord. When you take the opportunity to pray with someone, you invite the Lord into their life. I’ve prayed over the phone, sitting in church, dining in a restaurant, talking to someone with a problem or illness, and in many other places. When I feel the nudge from the Lord, I just do it. Nobody has ever turned me away or complained that my language wasn’t fancy enough. In fact, after praying with someone I completely forget what I said. The person, however, always feels cared about and thankful. Our Lord will help you if you just ask Him.
Speaking personally, I can say that praying aloud via FaceTime with my children when Bob was in the hospital with Covid-19 was not only helpful to them, but also to me. During a very difficult time in the life of our family, as we struggled together to understand God’s perfect will, prayer held us together daily.
I ask you now. Will you consider doing this? Keep it simple, sincere, and authentic.
Remember that longer is not stronger when you pray. If you will try this, you might just bring someone to the Lord. You’ll never know until you try.
Love and prayers,
Coordinator of Shepherds and Caring Ministries