The book of Acts gives us glimpses into the way the early church prayed corporately together. One of the reoccurring themes throughout the book of Acts (and in other New Testament passages) is the church praying out loud together. One instance is in Acts 4:24,
And when they had heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth and the sea, and all that in them is.
There is a sense of unity, power, and focus when a church prays out loud together. I’m afraid that we have structured all areas of our worship services to be an entertainment venue rather than a literal house of prayer, even in the most traditional of churches. For instance, we have special music that we watch someone else sing or times of prayer in which we sit quietly and listen to someone else pray. I’m convinced we need to be taught the early church principles of worship, and one being the fact that at times the church corporately prayed out loud together.
I’ve heard three reoccurring reasons as to why people don’t pray out loud:
- “I’m afraid of praying out loud.” – they fear what people might think of their prayers.
- “Doesn’t Jesus forbid praying out loud?” – they equate His condemnation of the Pharisees praying in public corners as a command not to pray aloud. Jesus wasn’t condemning their praying out loud, it was their hypocrisy and pride in how they prayed that was condemned.
- “I’m afraid Satan and his demons will hear me.” – So what?! To not pray out loud because Satan and his demons might hear you is to suggest that he and his forces have greater power than the One to Whom you are praying. We can go boldly, not sheepishly, before the throne of God because He is greater than our enemy. There is no need to whisper your prayers in fear of Satan. Christians in the Bible cried out to God in prayer!
Let me suggest a few practical helps that can encourage you as you endeavor to pray out loud in corporate times of prayer with our church.