Is praying silently really praying?

Discussion in '2005 Archive' started by Brian30755, May 25, 2005.

  1. Brian30755

    Brian30755
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    What's the difference in a silent prayer and a thought?

    If a thought is directed toward God, is it now called a prayer?

    Do you pray out loud, silently, or both?

    Personally, I hardly ever pray silently any more because it doesn't feel like I'm really praying. Plus, I can stay focused and my mind doesn't wander as much when I pray out loud.

    At my church we all pray together, out loud. I didn't like this at first, because I couldn't hear what anyone was praying. But then I realized that, when I was growing up in another church, all I ever did was listen to someone else pray. I never actually prayed myself. Then it hit me: I don't remember anywhere in the Bible where it says they "called on Brother ________" to pray, or to lead us in prayer. So now I actually like praying out loud along with everyone else.

    Your thoughts? Is "thinking" a thought toward God actually praying, or do you need to actually speak it?
     
  2. LarryN

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    "Is "thinking" a thought toward God actually praying, or do you need to actually speak it?"

    What if you or I somehow lack or lose the ability to speak- say due to a birth defect, accident, or illness? There are many who are mute, for a variety of reasons.

    Would that mean that we would be unable to communicate with God? I don't believe so.
     
  3. Pete Richert

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    Yes.

    Both.

    I'm exactly the opposite.

    I can not think of a single biblical passage that declares you can only communicate to God by speaking out loud. For an example of someone who did pray silently, check Nehemiah 2:4 (hmm, it doesn't actually say it was in his head though it seems doubtful he paused to answer Artaxerxes's question by praying out loud in front of him; well, who knows.)

    I have often been in groups that have decided to all pray outload simutanesouly. I have been VERY distracted, though I'm sure I could get used to it over time.
     
  4. Brian30755

    Brian30755
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    I don't believe so either. But if you CAN speak, should you? Or does it matter? I'm not saying you MUST pray out loud, but personally, I feel better about it when I do. I was just putting this out there for discussion to see what others think.
     
  5. Brian30755

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    It was distracting to me too, at first. But eventually you get to the point where you stop paying attention to those around you, and you start praying out loud too. And now, to me, it's really nice to be able to do that without worrying about everybody around me listening to me, because they're busy praying too.
     
  6. Pete Richert

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    Are you sure . . . :D
     
  7. TexasSky

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    I literally pray all day long. Prayer for me is extremely personal though.

    Sometimes I "multi-task" when I talk to God, just as I multi-task while I talk to my family or friends. I may be on the way to work, and as I'm driving down the road I see someone with car trouble so I ask God to help them. Maybe I'm making the 1/2 mile walk from my car to my office, and as I go over the list of things I need to do in my mind, I ask God to guide me with them.

    There are times when I stop everything, go to my knees, and have a long talk with the Lord where nothing distracts me.

    I tend to "shy away" from praying out loud around some people because the minute I start to pray out loud a little voice reminds me that others may be listening and that if they take a word wrong, I could influence them negatively. Suddenly the pray is "less honest" communication and more "stilted." It feels like a public speech, instead of a God conversation.

    At home, I have no problem praying out loud around people, just as I have no problem talking to my family with others around.

    Like any other conversation in my life, it depends on the circumstances at the time.
     
  8. terriloo

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    Well, I have said very few prayers OUT LOUD in my life...but God has answered many, many, many of my prayers--SO since most of them are prayed silently, I guess that makes that "really praying" since God was obviously "listening".

    Every thought I have is "heard" by God, whether directed to Him or elsewhere...Not all my thoughts are prayers, but all my thoughts to and about Him ARE, since one of the definitions of the word prayer is "a communion with God".
     
  9. terriloo

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    Texas Sky--we posted at almost the same time...and what you wrote sums up my situation almost exactly! [​IMG]
     
  10. PastorSBC1303

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    I think we can pray in many different ways. I do pray silently at times. I do enjoy praying outloud, even when I am by myself. A lot of times if I am in the car by myself for an extended period of time I will pray outloud. Or a lot of times in my office I will pray outloud. I have also found that I enjoy writing prayers down. I do not think we can put limits on prayers. God knows our heart.
     
  11. Brian30755

    Brian30755
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    TS,

    That's the way it usually feels to me at church when someone is called on to "lead us in prayer".

    Also, I should say, even though I almost always pray "out loud", sometimes "out loud" is only a whisper, where people around me couldn't hear me unless they were really trying.
     
  12. dianetavegia

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  13. APuritanMindset

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    This is along the same lines of the original post, but what about when we get saved? Can we just think to ourselves and to God, "God...I am a sinner and I need You to save me" or do we need to speak out? I will remind you of what Paul said:

    if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. With the heart one believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth one confesses, resulting in salvation. (Romans 10:9-10 HCSB)
     
  14. USN2Pulpit

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    From my experience, many of my charismatic friends pray aloud as a matter of practice. I'm by no means put off by it.
     
  15. moeowo2

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    I feel prayer is between me and God and no one else and that includes my husband. I pray for him but not with him in the sense of saying a prayer out loud. He was bothered by it at first but seems to accept that this is the way can communicate with God. I can say more in my mind that I can say out loud. I get lost for words when trying to speak it out loud.

    Matt 6:5 ¶ "When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.
    Matt 6:6 "But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees {what is done} in secret will reward you.

    The verses above don't mention whether or not the prayer is silent or not but to be it does lean towards at least private prayer. Even with those verses it doesn't condemn praying out loud.
     
  16. Deacon

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    Let the Scriptures answer your question.

    See 1 Samuel 1:9ff

    Then Hannah rose after eating and drinking in Shiloh. Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat by the doorpost of the temple of the Lord.
    She, greatly distressed, prayed to the Lord and wept bitterly.
    She made a vow and said, “O Lord of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and a razor shall never come on his head.”
    Now it came about, as she continued praying before the Lord, that Eli was watching her mouth.
    As for Hannah, she was speaking in her heart, only her lips were moving, but her voice was not heard. So Eli thought she was drunk.
    Then Eli said to her, “How long will you make yourself drunk? Put away your wine from you.”
    But Hannah replied, “No, my lord, I am a woman oppressed in spirit; I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have poured out my soul before the Lord.
    Do not consider your maidservant as a worthless woman, for I have spoken until now out of my great concern and provocation.”
    Then Eli answered and said, “Go in peace; and may the God of Israel bgrant your petition that you have asked of Him.”
    She said, “Let your maidservant find favor in your sight.” So the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad.


    (NAS Bolding added)

    Rob
     
  17. Brian30755

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    Thanks Deacon. That's the first time I've been shown that in the scriptures.


    Yeah, actually that's what I meant when I posed my originally questions. I know I did mention praying in church, but I mainly was referring to praying in private (do you pray silently or out loud?). I usually pray out loud in private....maybe not real loud, but loud enough that I can hear it.

    Thank you all for your comments on this. They have really helped me better understand some things about prayer.

    It blesses my heart to hear so many people talk about their prayer life. I went for so many years in church where I would hear the pastor or deacons or whoever was called on to pray, but I never actually prayed myself. I just wonder how many Christians attend every service at their church and hear others pray all the time, but they never get alone with God and pray themselves.
     
  18. Artimaeus

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    It isn't whether it is out loud or silent that affects me personally. It is whether there are other people listening. I have been saved for 33 years and I have never prayed out loud in front of other people when I wasn't affected by their presence. The phrases I use, my tone of voice, the fluidity of my speaking my thoughts, and the length of the prayer are all influenced by my "audience". Pay attention to yourself the next time you are by yourself praying and then notice how you pray when someone else is listening and you will notice that it it different. For me, personally, that difference is negative.
     
  19. robycop3

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    If your mind is on God, you're on God's mind.

    If you're called on to LEAD a group in prayer, OF COURSE you should pray aloud. But, as God knows your heart, your innermost thoughts anyway, spoken prayer isn't essential. I can sum it up by saying, "PRAY AS THE HOLY SPIRIT GUIDES YOU".
     
  20. Wife of One

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    I agree iwht the point that It's betweeen God and Myself.

    I also agree with the notion that God knows all including my heart so he knows when I'm praying and when i'm not. He also knows how animate I am about it. How much I mean what is in my heart and soul. He knows, as do I do. As for the rest of the population, It dosen't matter what they think. Sorry to say that it sounds kind of cold. But, you know it's the truth. There are too many people who pray just so others can notice. We are to be humble before the Lord. And, we are to be not drawing attention to ourselves. If we pray to hear our voices or to make a point people know we're praying. Is it a prayer or a Attention getting ploy? I'm not saying that anyone here does. I'm just saying, I'd rather pray for myself quietly.
     

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