I continue with a discussion of prayer and some of the questions I have received lately. This one is somewhat common: I can’t pray out loud or in public. My first response is praying out loud or in public is not as difficult as you think if you consider it is simply your conversation with God.

God can hear our prayers anytime, anywhere, and at any volume! He is able to hear us even when we think our prayers to Him rather than voice them. Yet, so many of us struggle and would like to be able to verbalize prayers in a group setting. Here are a few tips on how to grow in this area from Harvest Prayer.

• One of the best ways to grow in praying out loud is to practice listening to yourself reading prayers from Scripture. You could start with the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:9-13. Hearing your own voice as you pray out loud is an important step.

• Read Psalm 145 out loud back to the Lord and then say, “Lord, You are _____ (fill in the blank with some of the attributes you find in this Psalm). Looking for ways to praise God in His word is a powerful way to express your love for Him out loud. The more you know about Him and His goodness and love, the more you will want to express what’s on your heart to Him.

• After using Scripture to help you pray out loud for a while, try to voice your own prayers based on those you have been praying. Here is just one way: try looking at pictures of some of your family members and tell God what you want to pray for each of them. For example, “Father, my daughter Emily is really struggling to make friends in her new school this year. Would you bring her some godly young women to get to know?” Or, “Lord, my husband has such a stressful job. Please help him to feel Your presence and to be filled with peace instead of anxiety.” Praying the “So That” prayers I talked about from Rom. 15:30-33 is also powerful.

• When you are ready to try praying in a group, first recognize that you are talking only to God, and not to the other people around you. Flowery or “super-spiritual” language is not required. Talk to Him as you would talk to a good friend about the person or situation you are concerned about. Don’t worry about how others view your prayer…it is between you and God alone. It’s also helpful to be real and authentic and share in your group you are working on this part of your walk with God. They will joyfully support and even pray Victory for you!.

• Spend time with others who are in love with Jesus and listen to them pray. Ask them how they learned to pray out loud and see if they can give you some good ideas as well! Come to Prayer as a Priority on Sat. mornings at 7 am. We will help!

Realizing how critical prayer was to the ministry of Jesus, the apostles asked Him to teach them to pray (Lk.11:1). The truly amazing thing about this is that as far as we know, this is the only thing the apostles asked Jesus to teach them.

What was Jesus’ response to this request? He certainly did not downplay their request or tell them they didn’t need to be taught. He gave them a clear outline of what to pray in a simple straightforward fashion. We often call this the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus knew that His disciples needed help in their prayer lives, so when they asked, He provided that help for them. He will for you, too!