Writer, editor, stumbler after Jesus

For crying (out) out loud!

THROUGH THE YEARS, I have gotten over my initial reluctance to pray out loud in a group of people. But I’m only just beginning to work on praying audibly in another context—when I am on my own.

Until recently, I’d always figured that since God knows my thoughts even before I do (see Psalm 139:2), I might as well talk to Him silently. However, I’m realizing there are some good reasons to speak up even when it’s just Him and me.

It has precision. We think faster than we speak, and it’s easy to confuse a fleeting mental moment with serious reflection. Speaking things out forces me to slow down and give attention to what’s in my mind and on my heart, not rush on to the next thing. It can make my prayers more serious and meaningful.

It has precedent. If it was good enough for the likes of King David, who penned, “O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice; in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch” (Psalm 5:3), then it may have something to offer me. It worked for the man after God’s own heart, as he was known, and I’d like to have a sliver of his relationship.

It has presence. If I’m not careful, my faith can slide into abstract mode. But it must be experiential, too. I don’t just beam thoughts to my wife when I am with her; I open my mouth. In the same way, speaking to God reminds me that He is actually in the room with me.

It has power. Without getting all weird about it, things can happen when we vocalize them. God could have simply mused creation into being, but He declared it: “Let there be light” (and other things in nature). It may speak things into being.

It has permanence. It’s easier to dismiss thoughts as passing fancies that disappear than it is something we actually proclaim, which goes out into the universe. We may not have written them down, but we have written them on the wind. And sometimes we need the assurance, the reminder that God really heard something we prayed (and is working on it). It’s sort of an oral record of our requests.

It has persuasion. It’s not about intentionally looking for eavesdroppers, but if anyone catches you talking with God, they might just be encouraged in some way. Instagrammer Dave Adamson (aussiedave) posted recently about passing a guy walking along the beach who was praying out loud for a friend. “I only heard a few sentences,” Dave wrote, “but his prayer encouraged me because it made me wonder who might be praying for me that same morning.”

In the same manner, a friend recently recalled praying loudly and fiercely out loud over some stuff while staying at a hotel, only to discover later that his windows were wide open and people outside could hear all that was going on. Maybe they were windows not just to his room, but to heaven.

Technology has come to the rescue as I start to try being more verbal in my one-on-One times. With a pair of earbuds in place as I walk or run, passers-by might just think I’m chatting to a friend. And, of course, they wouldn’t be entirely wrong.

Photo on Foter.com

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