The more involved I become in my church the more I find myself being asked, or rather, desperately hoping not to be asked, to pray out loud in small groups.
Sometimes I have to fight the urge to skip a small group meeting because I’m pretty sure I’ll probably get asked to start or end the meeting with a prayer.
So why don’t I like getting asked to pray out loud with a group? Well, three main reasons.
- I have a really hard time “switching on a dime” from worldly interaction mode into a prayerful mode. It takes me a while to switch from interacting with other people into a frame of mind for interacting with God.
- I feel like the way I pray isn’t good enough to share with other people, even though I’m pretty sure that God understands. It’s like God knows what’s in my heart even if I don’t have the right words to put it in, but I don’t really trust other people to have that same understanding.
- I feel like my prayers are really lame and might even sound disrespectful to other people.
I think I need to learn to pray better.
When I pray alone my prayers often go something like this:
“Good morning God! Thank you again for the gift of another awesome day. Y’know, Your owl that was hooting all night was way cool. It didn’t bother me at all. You know I love listening to Your creatures at night. They kind of make me feel like I’m snuggled up in the blanket of Your whole creation, which is totally awesome.
“Y’know, God, there’s something I want to talk with you about this morning …. (etc., etc.)”What my personal 1:1 prayers really sound like
That’s not what anyone else’s prayers sound like when I hear other people pray out loud or read about people praying in the Bible.
And I worry about having to pray on behalf of others. It feels like more of a responsibility, and I don’t feel like I know what’s in the hearts of others to be able to pray the right things on their behalf.
So … how do I learn to pray out loud with others?
I’ll be asking God the same thing today.