cat-chic asked you:
This seems like a silly question but should I talk out loud when I pray? I usually don’t because I don’t like listening to myself.. Thanks :)
Jed Brewer replied:
Not a silly question at all – I’m glad you asked!
To answer it, let’s start by asking a different question: what’s God’s desire for our prayer? That leads to one of my favorite verses in the Bible…
“That’s the kind of people the Father is out looking for: those who are simply and honestly themselves before him in their worship.” (c.f. John 4:23-24, MSG)
See, what Jesus is saying here is that God wants people to keep it real when they come before him. He wants us to be ourselves.
Well, what that means is that the “right” way for you to pray is going to be unique to you, because you’re a unique person.
I think your goal should be to find a way to pray that allows you to relax and be yourself with God. That might be curling up in a coffeeshop with your journal and writing out your prayers. That might be going for a long run and praying in your thoughts. That might be kneeling at an altar rail and speaking your prayers out-loud. There’s nothing more-or-less Holy about any of those options; it’s only a matter of what works for you.
And that word “relax” is key. Prayer is meant to be a two-way conversation. You certainly are meant to pour at your heart to God and cast your cares on him. But you’re meant to listen for his voice as well (John 10:27). And being relaxed will help with that a lot.
For what it’s worth, all of this applies to studying the Bible and having a “quiet time” with God as well. We all need to be in the process of learning more Bible, and we all need to have regular time that’s just us and God. But what that looks like in practice should fit the uniqueness of your situation, and should celebrate the uniqueness of who you are!
Perhaps the main thing you can do to help yourself in regards to prayer, Bible study, and devotional time is to let go of the idea of “getting it wrong.” I’ve known so many Christians who feel guilty and ashamed because they don’t have an A+ quiet time. Well, let’s cancel that.
Instead, let’s start asking, “How good can it be? What would get me excited? What would fit me and God in a way I would want to celebrate and keep on doing?” Maybe you like to cook. Well, what if you set aside a few times a week to cook some sort of gooey, delicious desert? And you spend that whole time just pouring your heart out to God, and thanking him for every good thing in your life, starting with what you’re baking. And, then, when you have that piping hot tray of brownies all done, you and God hop in the car and go deliver them to someone going through a rough time. Talk about an act of worship!
Let it be an adventure, Sis. That’s what you were made for, and that’s the good stuff.