Does It Matter Whether I Pray Out Loud Or Not?
Confronting the Pharisees, Jesus says this in Matthew 6:5: "And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full."
Some have interpreted this as meaning to say that silent prayers have more power than audible ones. But is that really the case? There's an argument going on about whether prayer should really be done personally or corporately. While we know that both kinds of prayer have their own significance and importance, what most Christians really want to know is which is more effective.
I once met a pastor who was highly gifted in the area of healing. He taught that when praying, making an audible declaration would make the prayer more effective. I tried it out to see if I could get more people healed instantly through prayer. I saw no significant difference in results.
Does it really matter if we pray aloud or in secret? I believe there's no one real answer here. Asking this question is no different from asking the question, "Should I talk to my boss in person or just email him privately?"
There is a time for everything as Ecclesiastes 3 tells us. There is a time when praying corporately is what God would like us to do and also times when praying individually silently is the way we are to pray. More than just the manner by which we pray, the words we use, the diction, the fluency, the floweriness of a prayer, what God looks at most is the heart.
1 Samuel 16:7 says it best: "Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart."
What is the right heart stance when praying? I believe the stance by which God wants us to stand in is love. As the greatest commandment teaches us, "You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind." (Luke 10:27) That stance affects everything we do: our work, relationships, ministry, finances, and—yes—even our prayer life.
God desires to have us approach Him filled with a love and affection towards Him that will cause us to honour Him, revere Him, thank Him, and trust Him.