When I first became a Christian in 1999 I was very envious of those around me who could pray out loud really well. Their words were eloquent and seemed to flow together perfectly. I found praying out loud intimidating and was very fearful of every having to do it. Our small group was filled with people who were just as terrified as I was of praying out loud. So, we had devised a thumbs up system and the last one to put their thumbs up at the end of the group had to close in prayer. I was always very conscientious of the time and would have my thumbs in the up position hiding in my lap for at least the last five minutes. Until one fateful night when I was so engaged in the discussion that I forgot and I was the last to get my thumbs up.
Everyone looked at me and I felt absolute terror; panic set in. The group dutifully closed their eyes and bowed their heads awaiting my closing prayer. The only two words that came to mind were, “yay, God” so that’s what I said. I opened my eyes and looked up. Unfortunately, I was the only one who knew the prayer was over because everyone else still had their eyes closed and their heads bowed. I told them, “that’s it, that’s all I’ve got”. It was a humiliating experience.
Thankfully my prayer life is much better personally and out loud in a group. I share that story to encourage you to pray – even out loud. If I can do it, believe me, anyone can. What I learned over time as I came to know the Lord more intimately is that prayer is simply a conversation with God. It does’t have to be eloquent and full of fancy words.
And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.
God simply wants us to talk to Him and share with Him what is going on in our lives and what is on our hearts and to be quiet so He can talk to us in return.
Here are some easy tips for becoming more comfortable with praying. First of all, don’t just read about it and talk about it – DO IT! Find ways to incorporate it into your everyday life. When you are in your car, turn off the radio and talk out loud to God. Don’t worry, the person in the car next to you will just think you are singing along to the radio. Praying out loud can help you keep your focus and not become distracted by other thoughts running around in your mind. It gives you a chance to tell God what has happened in your day and to get His input.
You can also pray while you are doing everyday chores. I sort each person’s laundry into piles and pray for each member of my family as I fold their clothes. You can do the same as you pack lunches, make meals or set their place at the table. Each of these provide you with an opportunity to lift your family members in prayer.
As you pray more throughout your day, praying will become more comfortable and your relationship with God will be closer. Just like all the other important relationships in our lives, communication is the key. Keep in mind that communication is a two way street where you do some of the talking but also take time to listen. God is waiting to hear from you today, what are you waiting for?