Whenever the question “Who would like to pray for us?” is asked, I always shift uncomfortably.

My mind races a million miles per second. Say you will, Kara! Be brave! Volunteer! Why won’t my mouth move to say “yes”? Come on, I can do this…

But it’s not just me shifting uncomfortably. As I look around the circle, others are avoiding eye contact with the leader too. No one wants to pray!

 And at that point the leader says, “Alright, I will.”
Oh well. Maybe next time.

When I get in my car to drive home, I wonder why it is that no one wants to ever pray out loud. It’s not like it’s scary talking normally to those people. We were having a great conversation until the leader asked us who would like to pray. But for some reason, praying out loud is just plain intimidating.

Why is that?

Is it because we think our prayers have to be elaborate? Is it because we fear that the person/people listening will judge us? Why though is this scary, when really we are simply talking to God?? Why does it matter what other people think???

This is something that I’ve wondered for a while now, and something that I’ve been convicted about in my own life.

never used to pray out loud. Not unless someone would ask me. To this day, I still prefer to listen to someone else pray instead of being the one who says the prayer.

However, I have learned how to pray out loud. I’ve learned some things over the years that have made this feat easier. And today, I’m sharing them here with you, with the hopes that I’m not the only one who struggles with this.

How to Become Comfortable With Praying Out Loud:

I don’t know why, but for me at least it’s easier for me to take baby steps outside of my comfort zone instead of giant leaps. If you’re the same way, here are some baby steps you can take to become comfortable with praying out loud.

I don't know why, but praying out loud can be really intimidating! Here are 3 tips to help you become comfortable with praying out loud.

 

1. Pray by yourself

If you’ve never prayed out loud before, praying in front of a group of people- or even one other person- can seem really scary.

So start “small.”

Start with praying by yourself.

Begin by simply praying silently by yourself. This is probably what you’re used to, but I think that in order to be comfortable with praying out loud we must first be comfortable with praying in general. Maybe you pray silently in your head. Maybe you use a prayer journal. All that matters though is that you pray. Grow in your relationship with the Lord.

Once you’re comfortable with praying, practice praying out loud.

Don’t know what to say? Just have a conversation with the Lord. Tell Him about your day. Tell Him what you’re thinking or wondering. Mention how you’re learning how to pray out loud and ask Him to give you boldness.

I pray out loud by myself the most whenever I’m driving my car somewhere. I don’t know why… It’s probably because I’m alone anywho and so I figure I might as well spend that time talking to God.

Praying by yourself should be a habit you develop anywho. Prayers aren’t meant to be just in front of other people.

And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”
-Matthew 6:5-6 ESV

It’s important to pray by ourselves. This destroys the temptation to have our prayers look a certain way so that other people think we’re super close with God–AKA pride.

However, sometimes we should pray with other people! There’s nothing wrong with praying with others. That’s not what the passage above was saying. Rather, when we pray with others around, we shouldn’t try to seem “holier than thou” when we do so.

2. Pray aloud with a friend

Once you’ve practiced praying out loud by yourself, you’re ready to take another baby step forward.

Now, practice praying out loud with a friend you trust.

Whenever you and she eat a meal together, offer to pray aloud. Whenever you spend the night at her house, offer to pray aloud. If there’s an opportunity at your church to pray for a friend, do it.

The great thing about this is that if you’re friends, you shouldn’t have the fear of “What if I mess up?” because you’ll know she won’t judge you for it.

3. Pray aloud whenever you have the opportunity.

When I was a junior in high school, I started playing the keyboard for my youth group’s worship on a regular basis. I went to a small youth group, so in the band it was myself, a guitarist, a drummer, and a singer (maybe two).

After we would lead worship, one of us with a mic would then pray for our time at Sunday School. Deciding which of us would pray was often difficult, because none of us were really super comfortable with praying aloud.

But then, later that year, I was chosen to be a counselor for a Christian retreat for 6th graders. And one of the leaders of the retreat told us, “If you’re not comfortable with praying out loud, become comfortable with it because you’ll have to pray aloud with your 6th graders. Start praying out loud every time you have the opportunity to.”

I decided to take her advice as a personal challenge.

Now, every Sunday or Wednesday at youth group if no one else in the band wanted to pray, I would offer to pray. At my Christian school, if no one offered to pray when the teacher asked, I would offer to pray.

It was scary. Especially since I wasn’t used to praying out loud so much. But it really did become easier.

So if you’re wanting to become more comfortable with praying aloud, I offer you the same advice: Pray out loud whenever you have the opportunity.

Whether it’s in a big group or with just two other people, offer to pray. When someone asks, “Would anyone like to pray?” volunteer to pray.

Conquering the fear of “What if I mess up?”

Now that we’ve discussed three baby steps we can take to become comfortable with praying out loud, let’s conquer this common fear of “What if I mess up when I pray out loud?”

First off, I don’t think there is a way to “mess up” when praying.

Prayer is having a conversation with the Lord.

It’s like when you talk to a friend- sometimes you may stumble over your words or forget what you were trying to say. But you take a deep breath and keep going! You don’t give up trying to talk to that friend at all even though you stumbled once, right?

So maybe when you pray aloud you stumble over a word or forget where you were going with a certain thought. That’s okay! Take a deep breath and keep going!

And take heart- the Holy Spirit will help you.

“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” -Romans 8:26 ESV

As Christians, we have the Holy Spirit living inside of us. He will help us talk to God… because He is God… so of course He will help us talk to Himself! :)

-Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.- -Romans 8-26 ESV (1)

We don’t have to use big words or “Christianese” when we pray. We can talk simply, expressing our heart to God.

All of us are different. We each have different mannerisms and quirks. So, logically, all of our prayers will sound a little different. We don’t have to try to sound like our church leaders, friends, teachers, etc, when we pray because we are different people from them. 

You are unique! Embrace your quirks! Pray like you talk.

When we pray out loud, our prayers don’t have to be elaborate.

We don’t have to use flowery language or weave scripture beautifully into our prayers. We can be ourselves and come before God as we are.

{Note: If you love using flowery language or weaving scripture into prayers, go for it! I’m not saying those things are bad at all! :) }

The problem comes when we try to pray a certain way so that other people will approve of our prayer- approve of us. We shouldn’t be seeking the approval of others when we pray, but rather the approval of our Heavenly Father- approval that He gives freely because He loves us.

Related: The Secret to Deep Prayer


Do you have any other tips for how to become comfortable with praying out loud? If so, leave ’em in the comments so they can help your fellow reader :) 

Also, if this post encouraged you, would you please share it with a friend so it can encourage her as well? Thanks!

2 thoughts on “How to Become Comfortable With Praying Out Loud

  1. Lizzy Messer

    Thanks for sharing! God has really been working on me recently about talking to him about the little details of the day. I don’t think that praying changes God, it changes me. When I invite God into my day, it allows me to see how He answers specific prayer requests.

    Reply

  2. Belema Ronabere

    I may not have any tips but I definitely know the struggle especially if you grew up Pentecostal. I have come to learn how to pray without fear of messing up. It helps that the fellowship group at my university makes these things less of a big deal.

    A lot of people mess up and we all laugh about it. So it never feels like you’re left out.

    Reply

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