But when you pray go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret will reward you. (Matthew 6: 6)
You mean God can hear me even when I don’t speak the words out loud?
Recently a young woman came to me in deep distress. She was being persecuted for her faith in her own home. After we had talked for several minutes I began to realize that a big part of her distress came from the fact that she thought she had to speak out loud to God in order for Him to hear and answer her prayer. In her own words every time she “shouted” out her prayers to God, it led to abuse. My advice to her? – Pray silently. She said to me; You mean God will still hear my prayer?
I reminded her that our God is all knowing (Omniscient), present everywhere (Omnipresent), and all powerful (Omnipotent). When we belong to God through faith in Jesus, His Spirit lives in us. He knows our thoughts before we do. We never need to fear that He won’t hear us.
As a child I learned to pray silently when I prayed in private so it seemed like a given to me, but for this woman it was a revelation. She had grown up in her faith praying out loud to God and had never really had reason not to. Sadly it was now a necessity for her in order to avoid abuse. It was a huge relief to her to know that even if she was not visibly praying, she could pray in her heart and mind and God would hear.
For myself the opposite is true. It has always felt normal and good for me to pray out loud in group settings (Church, School, Meetings, Bible Studies etc), but as one who grew up praying silently in my mind and from my heart when in private, it seems awkward for me to pray out loud. I am learning to do so however, and it has been a true blessing. I tend to feel a greater sense of God’s presence and find it easier to concentrate when I pray out loud. From a human perspective, prayer spoken out loud may feel more like a heart to heart talk with a friend and bring us closer to God.
Either way, silently or out loud, a prayer offered in faith is valid. It makes no difference to God who knows all things. Jesus does however, discourage us from praying out loud in order to bring attention to ourselves or make ourselves look good to others. He teaches us humility in Matthew 6: 5 when He says; 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.
A prayer offered in faith and humility will be heard by Him and He has promised to answer us, all be it, in His own time and in His own way.
Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely O Lord (Psalm 139: 4).
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4: 6, 7)
Read Psalm 139, a Psalm of David. It will be a good reminder to you of just how well God knows each of us.