Loudly or Silently? How Should I Pray?
The bible has so many examples to give us about men who prayed and the manner in which they prayed. Life examples are many that show God’s readiness to answer us when we pray. Prayer is something we cannot avoid in life. Men are bound to pray, either willingly or by force. But it seems some individuals have fixed mindset as regard God’s required manner of praying, but if we check the bible thoroughly, there was no fixed manner as to how to pray whether loudly or silently. But we did know that God answered their prayers. We shall see some examples from the scriptures.
Emotions and prayer cannot be separated. The emotion can be Holy Spirit or our human spirit initiated. We need to really acknowledge this. More so, the situation we are also determines the manner in which we will make our prayers. David said
Evening and morning and at noon I utter my complaint and moan, and he hears my voice.Psalm 55:17
We should know that whether we articulate our prayers or not, they always have voice to God as much as it does to us.
Hannah as a case study
10 She was deeply distressed and prayed to the Lord and wept bitterly. 11 And she vowed a vow and said, “O Lord of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your servant and remember me and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall touch his head.”
12 As she continued praying before the Lord, Eli observed her mouth. 13 Hannah was speaking in her heart; only her lips moved, and her voice was not heard. Therefore Eli took her to be a drunken woman.1Samuel 1:10-13
Here, we see Hannah a woman filled with sorrow as a result of her challenge including the fact that Peninnah often torment and mock her. We learnt that she did often go yearly to worship in Shiloh. But it reached a stage she could not bear it any more so she prayed “in bitterness of soul”. She could not speak out because of the overwhelming bitterness. This teaches us that it is not the voice that we added to prayers that will get them answered but the heart we put into it. I mean having the right attitude in prayer. Hannah is an example of a prayer made silently with a seen emotion.
In the month of Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was before him, I took up the wine and gave it to the king. Now I had not been sad in his presence.2 And the king said to me, “Why is your face sad, seeing you are not sick? This is nothing but sadness of the heart.” Then I was very much afraid. 3 I said to the king, “Let the king live forever! Why should not my face be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers’ graves, lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire?”
4 Then the king said to me, “What are you requesting?” So I prayed to the God of heaven. 5 And I said to the king, “If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favor in your sight, that you send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers’ graves, that I may rebuild it.”Nehemiah 2:1-5
From Nehemiah we could see an example of instant prayer. A prayer that has no time of long articulation and also a very silent one. When the king asked his question, Nehemiah did not ask for a moment to pray. The prayer was instant. This also nullifies the habit of thinking that without fasting and spending much time in prayer over a matter that God will not answer. Remember Paul said
Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayerRomans 12:12
If prayers are to be always loud. One will be worn out early. Because it is very hard to keep talking throughout the day yet God commands us to pray without ceasing, so how do we justify this without giving room for human excuses of weakness?
“Be given to prayers at all times” is the given command. There is no time to stop praying. Wisdom is profitable to direct, knowing this will help us to rightly discern how we ought to make a prayer without letting human emotions drive us into the wrong direction.
Loudly and Silently
It is necessary to prayer out loud when necessary most at times when we are alone. Though we already know that corporate prayers demand that we pray out loud. Praying out loud does not add power to the prayer but helps to gain mastery over our hearts from wondering around. There are many examples of people who also prayed out loud.
The bottom line is, pray at all times and ensure you put your heart into it whether the manner is loud or silent. The place of prayer is where you express how you feel to your heavenly Father, do not pen your emotions.
You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.James 4:3
This establish the fact that it is not how loudly or silently we ask but if our heart is right with God our prayers will be answered.