The Power of Prayer
Prayer is something that used to be scary for me. It was something I thought was supposed to be done silently and behind closed doors, except for the leaders of the church or before a meal, of course. I definitely didn't have a good relationship with prayer, and therefore did not have much of a relationship with God. I prayed when I wanted or needed something, or if I was scared or going through a difficult time, but I was far from someone who "prayed without ceasing." Don't get me wrong, I believe God still hears our silent prayers and that they are still just as effective. But there is so much power in voicing our prayers. Saying them out loud does two things:
1. The Enemy Hears Our Prayers - When we pray silently, only God can hear that prayer. That is more than enough knowing that He hears and listens to me, but when I pray out loud, I know the enemy is also listening. I'm showing that I don't have fear because my God is greater! The enemy's strategy is to cripple us in fear, and when I am too scared to pray out loud, I am letting the enemy win. Even if there is something I don't want the enemy to know, I still pray out loud because I have more faith that God will help me through whatever the situation is. Satan will not have that power over me!
2. Other People Hear Our Prayers - When someone tells me, "I will be praying for you," and then they don't pray right then and there, I still believe them. I of all people know how scary it is to pray for someone on the spot. But when they stop what they are doing and actually pray, that is so comforting. Hearing other's prayers really lift me up and make me feel closer to the Father. I will even step out on a limb and say that when other people can hear us pray, it encourages them as well as gives them an idea of what they can be praying for.
I recently went through a Discipleship Training School with YWAM, and a huge part of that ministry is hearing God's voice. The first time we did intercessory prayer, I was scared out of my mind. It wasn't something I had ever done before or had even heard of prior to joining this school. But something amazing happened: I heard God's voice. Not a literal booming voice, like I imagined it might sound like, but it was a whisper in my spirit. It was a picture or vision to be more precise. And the picture that I received from God aligned with scripture and other pictures and words that other people received. I was definitely skeptical beforehand, but it didn't take long for me to realize that God speaks to us in so many different ways, and that praying out loud is so powerful! I still have a long way to go, and a lot more to learn, but I have to say that my life has improved by praying out loud.