The TV Evangelists do it. Other denominations do it…adult, and child….and Charismatic Catholics do it. They pray earnestly from the heart, within range of anyone to hear, with all the confidence in the world.
I’m trying to do it to, mentored by my priest friend who opened my eyes to what an intimate relationship with Jesus is about: praying from the heart…and listening intently for His Answers in my heart…but it’s a work in progress.
Why do I find it so difficult to pray out loud? Because I’m not talking about a shopping list of prayer requests, peppered with a blurted out ‘thank-you’ or ‘I’m sorry’ within a routine of someone else’s beautiful words of classic Catholic prayers. I’m talking about a vulnerable cry from the heart expressing a deepening yearning to feel closer and connected to the Lord; understood by Him, inspired by Him, in full service to Him and in tireless pursuit of Him.
Why out loud? For the same reason that I often journal my prayers. Perhaps not as permanent as the written word, the act of speaking the words out loud force them to be deliberate…and a little more vulnerable.
I’m talking about speaking out loud, the quiet stirring from the Holy Spirit, in an uncomposed, unrehearsed string of words, struggling at times to properly express them and uninhibited enough to trust that the message won’t get mangled, even if it’s not all that eloquent. And as if it’s not difficult enough to hear myself struggle through, I allow my spiritual director to witness my awkward attempt? Regularly?
Have you ever asked someone to pray for you, and to your surprise, they prayed over you…right at that moment? That’s what my now-spiritual director did, the first time I asked him for a prayer. He prayed with me regularly as he became my spiritual director.
Although it was comforting to bask in the beautiful, flowing words of another, addressing my needs and asking for a shower of graces and blessings, I felt a nudge. An uncomfortable, insistent nudge prompted me to admit that maybe I was being called to real participation, deepening my relationship with my Lord and my God, directed maybe, but not dependent on the gifts of my spiritual director. After I blurted out this suspicion that I was being challenged to step out of my comfort zone, it was quickly addressed. Not letting me off the hook by postponing it to a face-to face meeting, I made my first attempt to pray from the heart out loud, in that same phone call. gulp.
Years later, having completed each talk with praying out loud… I feel anything but smooth, but I feel a certain disappointment if I ever dodge the challenge after spiritual direction.
I wish I could say that I pray from the heart with my kids. Although I do pray out loud with my husband and my kids, I usually rely on a familiar routine of memorized prayers, habitual phrases and a continuous floating list of prayer intentions for family and friends.
I desperately want to inspire them to deeper prayer, but I feel like such a newbie at it, learning as I go along, inspired by others who sound like they have been praying naturally, spontaneously and from the heart …for a lifetime.
I am only a little more confident and a little less apprehensive with each act of trust, and I recognize the graces and strengthening of my prayer life, with each attempt. I think I might always avoid leading prayer in a group…just the suggestion to do a reading at Mass or lead a women’s group…makes me want to head for the hills.
But if I am the one to inspire my kids Lord, I pray for the Holy Spirit to help me and guide me to continue to grow in my prayer life, draw closer to Him and to reflect His unconditional intimate Love for them. I pray that my kids will also feel the nudge to pray from the heart…and ultimately enjoy a closer, more personal relationship with our Lord.
Do you feel the nudge to pray out loud?
What is your favorite way to pray? Leave a comment below!
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23 thoughts on “For Praying Out Loud”
While growing up in the church I was mortified to pray out loud because my prayers seemed so childish, compared to others. I still have a hard time praying out loud.
You have blessed me with your honesty…and challenged me to pray out loud more often and let go of whatever "expectations" I think those prayers should have.
So glad you have found your way to our meme and are joining us. Looking forward to reading more in the coming weeks.
Thank you for linking to Memoir Mondays:)
Oh my, I so feel your apprehension on leading prayer as well as your desire to enrich your children's prayer lives, to not "just" pray with rote prayers… This has inspired me, esp now during Lent, to be sure I am mindful of this too and discuss, rather than just "say" the prayers during rosary time and during our Lenten activities.
Thanks for the inspiration.
I find it incredibly uncomfortable myself to pray out loud. But I do with my children. If I expect it of them, then I suppose I should become more comfortable with it myself…
I love this post. And I must say, the thought of praying out loud (which I've never done, to be honest, except for group prayer in church) scares the bejeezus out of me. My immediate reaction to reading this was, "But we should NOT pray like the hypocrites in the synogogues, out loud, and demonstratively for all to see!" – Then as I kept reading, I realized this was my pride coming through, not my humility. I would rather keep my prayers to myself not to avoid being like the hypocrites in the synagogues, but to avoid the humiliation of sounding weak, seeming unable, looking like I need help.
But of course, I am all of those things.
This post is very helpful for me, today.
And, also reminds me I need to begin spiritual direction asap 😉
I really, really love this post (love the title, too!). I have two totally opposite feelings about praying (spontaneously, from the heart) out loud: I prefer to do so when I'm praying alone, and I dislike it immensely if I do it in the presence of others. When I'm by myself, praying aloud in a kind of whisper gives me more of an awareness of the One to Whom I'm speaking. I think that's because in normal conversation I do talk out loud :). It also keeps my drifty mind more on track. In a group, I become conscious of the words and how I "sound," and that snags me up more than I care to admit!
Thanks for a really helpful and thought provoking post.
My favorite way to pray is by singing. There is nothing better for me. Very important thoughts in your post on praying with mindfulness and not simply reciting. Great Reminder.
My kids are so open to praying from the heart – me, not so much. I'm trying to learn from them!
I thought I recognized those pictures! We stopped at Our Lady of the Snows and lit a candle many years ago to pray for our first conception. Guess it worked ;0)
I totally relate to this.
I have always had a hard time praying with my parents. I don't think I ever have. But, I can pray aloud with my husband if he leads. My children I have no problem with, so I hope it gives them confidence as they grow.
My children and I pray out loud. I love the picture of your son near the candles.It is such a sweet and touching picture.
What a beautiful place I love it! We pray a loud also I think it's great to have kids hear you pray and I love hearing their sweet (and sometimes funny) prayers.
My favorite way to pray now is during the evenings, when everything is quiet and peaceful. I pray by giving thanks, first, then followed by my personal intentions for my loved ones, others and for myself.
try something for fun. Give your inner soul or spirit, the part of you that is united to Jesus, give her permission to rise up and take charge when you pray. The logical mind needs to take a break and your intuitive, creative, subconscious self can hear God more clearly. Sometimes Christian music, holy pictures, even simply relaxing your muscles and mind is enough of a window for your spirit, united with the Holy Spirit to do the praying is you. It is simple and easy-just like breathing because God is near to you as the words on your lips and your own breath
I love praying out loud during our family prayers and prayer meetings. But I also love praying in silence from the heart at the Adoration Chapel before the Blessed Sacrament. I was blessed to have been exposed to the Catholic Charismatic Renewal Movement since my college years. It taught/trained me to pray spontaneously aloud. But I also feel blessed to have been inspired by many spiritual friends who pray with all their hearts before God in church or the Adoration Chapel.
I say bedtime prayers aloud with my children. Before I myself go to bed, I go to my prayer closet, light a candle, shut the door, and sit with my eyes closed. I don't even think words or any thoughts in particular. I just sit and feel God's presence. I assembled this prayer space gradually over the last few months, upon the suggestion and direction of my spiritual director. I have various pictures and statues of God the Father, the Divine Mercy, the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Blessed Virgin. It is a very special and sacred space for me. The kids also love it and call it "Mom's Holy Room". It gives my atheist husband the heebie-jeebies.
love "Mom's Holy Room"…I'm looking at the closets around my house with a different eye. =)
My husband and I have tried over the years to pray aloud together to end our day. I have never gotten comfortable with it but we do still try.
I do find it is so much easier to focus and not let me mind wander when I am praying out loud- but I much prefer to do it alone, when no one but God is listening.
Hmm, praying out loud. We pray out loud together as a family all the time but it is always memorized prayers. That would be so out of my comfort zone to pray out loud from my heart. I often cry out to the Lord in my prayers, but it has always been within. I'll have to think about this one 🙂 BTW, Our Lady of the Snows is beautiful, isn't it? I've been there a number of times and have always enjoyed it.
I have made praying aloud with my children in free form prayer a part of our lives since their birth. My husband is not comfortable with praying aloud, and I was not either for many years. It was actually some Christian(not Catholic) friends who inspired me to pray aloud and from the heart initially, and I am eternally grateful for it. It has helped me grow in my Catholic faith.
When I pray with my wife, we both pray out loud. I'd say praying aloud helps a lot when praying with someone else, especially someone who's so close like a spouse or a family, for it brings the ones who are praying closer to one another and it gives a feeling of unity.
It's an interesting topic by the way. Thanks for sharing it with us.
Funny that you mentioned his Monica. I've been trying to work on this myself with my son and now in m class. I thought they need to hear an adult speak from the heart even nought I tend to say similar type prayers. I'm a work in progress! Thank you for sharing our journey in this type of prayer.
Thank you, Monica, for helping coordinate the KLIL link up. I have enjoyed it more than you will ever know, and have shared some of the posts with family and friends. Reading the wisdom of the other bloggers (including yours) has truly strengthened my resolve to let this Lent be transforming! Praying out loud isn't easy. Praying at the beginning of our homeschool days with the boys has helped stretch us all in this form of prayer. I actually think that when the boys hear my pray from the heart, it helps their own faith in the Lord grow, as they witness my confidence in the truth that HE always hears us! God bless you and your family this Lent and always!
Monica thank you so very much for putting together the Keep Love in Lent, it has been truely inspirational. You touch upon another wonderful aspect of the faith, outwardly prayer. I myself am comforted by being able to pray aloud- but it is almost always with another person. I tend to pray to myself, and enjoy personal contempletive conversations with God. Usually moments of beauty in nature can stir such conversations, it brings peace. How wonderful that your spiritual director is challenging you in this way! I pray that it continues to be fruitful for you, and as all of us are striving to do- that you can do it with heart felt love.
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