When a fellow believer unifies their heart to mine and to God’s presence in prayer it is an amazing event, and I have been blessed enough to experience this kind of unity a number of times just recently in fact. Yet sharing in verbal prayer is not a practice that I always find as comforting as some may think I should. Over the years I have noticed that some prayers don’t always sit quite right with me. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate verbal or group prayers’ certain place within the body of Christ, I listen intently to the words offered aloud, agreeing deep in my spirit when my heart harmonizes with what is being said. I am aware of the miraculous power sharing prayers can have, and yet sadly sometimes I notice that prayers can feel recited, watered down, and even at times heretic.
I wonder if perhaps I have an aversion to people praying aloud over me, from when I fell in with a false prophet for a brief period of time. At the time I had no idea she was a false prophet, as the evidence came to light later on. I was just thrilled to have made a friend who accepted me in all my faults, who at the lowest point of my life did not condemn me, who openly professed her belief in God and was happy to talk about the Bible and faith. Yet when she asked if she could pray over me I felt awkward, I noticed that her words didn’t line up with the Will of God as I understood it. She was trying to override His control, trying to get Him to change the circumstances He had put me in, rather than asking Him to empower me to accept His will, to guide my steps, to learn through the trials, to trust Him through the storm. No gratitude, No praise, No humility. As she prayed over me it made my skin crawl, and even though I fought myself trying to be polite and ride it out, I couldn’t and had to ask her to stop.
In Matthew 6:5-6 Jesus gives us direct guidance not to pray out loud and in public.
5 And when ye pray, ye shall not be as the hypocrites: for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, they have received their reward. 6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thine inner chamber, and having shut thy door, pray to thy Father who is in secret, and thy Father who seeth in secret shall recompense thee.
Have we forgotten how to value the purest communication with Our Heavenly Father? How intimate and wholehearted it should be?
Praying allowed, sixteen times a day, regardless of who is present, may seem like the most righteous practice around, and yet it is so simple to perform without righteousness. Careless use of prayer can be more harmful than good especially if God’s Will is not at the center, it may even push some away from the unity God’s people are intended to have. It won’t resonate the abundant power prayer can have when true unity is felt. Careless prayer may even guide some out of God’s will, if specific guidance is given when not prophesied directly from God.
Maybe my heart pulls this way because most of my experience with verbal prayer always came from my Dear Dad, who used to pray aloud with me whenever I desperately needed it. He always knew how to line up his heart with mine, and connect us in unity with Gods presence. Maybe it’s simply because I was spoiled to have shared that and I just miss his fervent prayers?
This post was not an easy one to publish, as it has the potential to be misinterpreted or taken out of context. It is tough to expose and put into words exactly how or why my spirit interprets prayer in this way. I guess I’d just hope to use this post as a gentle nudge to ask ourselves some honest questions about the true nature of our verbal prayers and to be wary of using them rashly, repetitively or without deep consideration.