Is it better to pray out loud or silent? Silent prayer vs loud prayer tends to be a matter of opinion and preference among Christians. Examples of this within the Bible include all the prayers that are credited to Jesus. Had he said those prayers in silence, we wouldn’t have the wealth of knowledge that is contained within each of them. Most of our prayers are moulded on the prayers of our Lord and Saviour. They are moulded around how he communicated with the father.
Who are you praying to
Considering that God is omnipresent. That saying that no matter how you choose to communicate with him he will understand and hear you. The first thing to consider when discussing the silent prayer versus loud prayer is who these prayers are being sent to. If you’re praying to the Lord our God, there isn’t much of a need to shout about it. Unless of course, this is a prayer that is being done in a corporate setting. In which case, loud prayer is for the edification of the body of Christ.
Praying in Agreement
Adding to the previous point about the body of Christ. The scripture tells us that where two or more meet in his name, he is present. It also tells us that whatever we agree to bind or to loose on this earth is bound in heaven. As such, the only way that we could facilitate such agreement in prayer is through prayer that others can hear and agree with.
The Example of the Pharisees
Going back to the point about who you are praying to. It is easy to get caught up in your surroundings. In such a manner that you would find yourself praying more for the pleasure of the people around you instead of pouring your heart out to the Lord.
Luke 18:9-14New International Version
The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector
9 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’
13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’
14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
Jesus teaches about this through the example of the Pharisees. How they would pray aloud. In a manner that was boastful and filled with pride. Their prayers were said in a way that those around them could hear of their virtuous ways.
“They have gotten their reward already.”
We know that God sees what is done in secret. He hears what is said in secret places and rewards us publicly.
The Prayer Closet
The secret place mention above is what is often referred to as the prayer closet. It is in such places that God works mighty things. We know that Jesus would often draw away from the crowds, to spend time alone in prayer and contemplation. It is in that place where the miracles that we see would have been birthed.
To Pray or not to pray aloud?
Martin Luther was known to have prayed aloud. It is said that he did this because he “wanted even the devil to hear him pray.”
He was a man that was at odds with the church of his day. In his quest to keep the church as pure as Christ would have wanted it, he made enemies of the Catholic Church. His loud prayers would have been in defiance of this. It is said that his enemies feared his prayers!
One of my favourite examples of this is the case of Daniel. At a time when prayer had been outlawed, he was found guilty of praying! He would have stood in defiance of the king’s edict and prayed. He did so with his window open. His enemies heard him pray. We all know how that ended!
Daniel 6:9-11International Standard Version
9 So King Darius signed the edict contained in the written document.
Daniel is Accused
10 When Daniel learned that the written document had been signed, he went to an upstairs room in his house that had windows opened facing Jerusalem. Three times a day he would kneel down, pray, and give thanks to his God, just as he had previously done.
11 The conspirators then went as a group and found Daniel praying and seeking help before his God.
We know that when Hannah desperately prayed to the Lord that she may have a sign, she did so silently. The priest even thought that she was drunk. Yet, the Lord heard her prayer and stretched his loving hand to change her situation.
The Need for silent prayer
You have probably heard prayer described as dialogue. Some of the most critical decisions and clear communication to come from God comes in our moments of silence. That comes when we learn to quieten ourselves and listen to him. Remember that you are speaking to someone that you know. It is someone that adores you. Sometimes we are deprived of God’s voice because we have become too fond of hearing our own.
It is not always a bad thing. You may even have the best of intentions. King Saul had the best intentions when he decided to go to war to protect the Lord’s people instead of waiting for the prophet’s arrival. He stepped into an office that wasn’t his. He played a role that he was not meant to play. It cost him his legacy. What are some of the things that you may be missing out on because you are speaking when you should be listening?
One of the things that silent prayer gives you are moments of truth. You are on your own with God. The natural tendency of human beings to please others is placed aside.
Do not be like the Pharisees. Check the condition of your heart and what drive you to pray silently or indeed loudly. Silent prayers yield results! Loud prayers yield results! The volume of your prayer is not an indication of your faith. Another aspect to take into consideration is what type of prayer you are engaged in. Passionate prayer such as Luther’s was done alone. It was focused on the Holy Spirit and on his Savior Jesus. Choose your weapon. May God elevate your prayer life.