Praying out loud with other people has never been something I’ve excelled at. My mind, embarrassingly, often goes blank. I’ve heard new believers and children pray better than me. A number of years ago when I was active in leading small group ministry and was forced, if you will, to pray out loud with others – my prayer skills did improve. Sometimes we just need practice, and prayer can be learned. Indeed, the disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray.
Something I have found helpful is to pray Scripture. One time I went to pray with a woman graduating from a drug rehab program. I was nervous about it. I told her I was going to pray straight from my Bible for her, so my eyes would be open (haha) as I looked at the passage. The prayer was well-received and God’s Word is powerful. Colossians 1:9-14 can be a great model prayer. And you don’t have to be so worried about fumbling with your own words, when you are following the Scripture.
Let theology be your guide. Yes, theology. Earlier in the year I knew ahead of time that I would have to pray out loud for someone in regards to a suicide. Oh, dear. Suicide is such a devastating situation. But I got to thinking about theology – specifically the Incarnation and the hypostatic union. (How God became human in Jesus, and that Jesus was fully God and fully man at the same time.) Passages from Hebrews also came to my about Jesus being able to sympathize with us because he lived a human life.
And that was how I prayed with this individual. I don’t remember my exact words, but in my prayer I expressed thanks that our God became human, and he can relate to us when we experience pain and tragedy in life because Jesus experienced it to. And I prayed for supernatural comfort in this tough situation.
I’d encourage you to incorporate theology into your prayer life. How does what you know about God relate to the situation at hand? Theology should always be practical and pastoral. If it is simply book knowledge or facts, we have gotten off path.
But even if we fumble it up when we pray, that is okay. God knows our hearts and knows what we mean, and he can understand our inept or awkwardly worded prayers. Jesus is also our mediator and intercessor in heaven. Let us take comfort that Jesus is seated at the right hand of God the Father, and powerfully intercedes on our behalf. Hebrews 7:25. Colossians 3:1.