Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Out Loud

When people come to me who want me to disciple them, one of the first exercises I have them do is spend time praying out loud. Verbalizing prayer is a crucial first step in communicating with God because... a HUGE part of communicating comes when we say things out loud. If I pray silently, I am distracted and constantly fight my brain's tendency to fantasize, drift and flit from one thought to another until I forget what I was doing (Hey there's a chicken!!) Be loosed tongue! Speak those words out loud and give them authority in the name of Jesus. God wants to HEAR our praise, HEAR out pleas, HEAR out thanksgiving, HEAR our worship, and HEAR our adoration of Him.

My wife gets irritated at me when I communicate with her through telepathy. First of all, I am not telepathic. To complicate matters even more, neither is she. She wants me to tell her what I need and how I feel about her. She wants me to openly and honestly talk about my day, my struggles, my highs and lows, what I liked and didn't like. If I thank her in my thoughts, she acts like I haven't thanked her at all. If I think she looks good but keep silent, she acts like I am not attracted to her. She wants to know me and the only she can is for me to speak. She wants more of me because talking to her opens up her heart to me.

And it opens up my heart to her. That's the main deal. And it is the same way with God. When I speak, each word declares what is true about me, good or bad. Each word is a covenant about what I have been doing, where I am, what my intentions are, and what I want. As I speak, my heart follows. The more passionately I speak in prayer, the more God responds to me. I quote, "Thou shall love the Lord thy God with all your heart..." I need to engage my heart and a great first step in to engage my mouth. My joys become God's joys and He celebrates my victories with me. My sorrows become His sorrows and He comforts me when I invite Him into it...into me. He listens when I am angry and gives me wisdom. He listens to my confusion and becomes my Counselor. When I speak, I find Him working with me, relating to my desperation, my pain and my passion.

So talk. I can pray a maximum of 60 seconds when I pray silently but I have prayed for 10 hours straight out loud (and could've gone longer but I got hungry). There is no precedent for silent prayer in scripture, it was always out loud. Jewish people may pray quietly, but not is all out loud. Try it and see if it doesn't make a difference in your prayer life.

PS. Pray quietly (not silently) at church when led in prayer and be amazed at what happens.

PPSS. If you want more from your Bible reading, read it out loud. Same with praise and worship.

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