June 18, 2019

PRAYING OUT LOUD.

Photo by Olivia Snow on Unsplash
Prayer has been a journey for me. Growing up, praying out loud was something I always saw my dad as the expert in--he was the one often delegated to praying at our family gatherings and special occasions like Advent. And around the dinner table, each family has had a designated day when we would take turns praying before we eat.

This past year, God's been really growing me in how/when/what I pray out loud in the company of others. Since joining a community group, I have found myself not only praying out loud more with these friends but also willingly attending prayer meetings at church and praying before services when I play on worship team.

To be honest, it's something I have never considered myself good at. More often than not, you'll find me practicing and rehearsing my prayers before saying them. And even if I do rehearse them, I am even more likely to remain silent and don't let a prayer escape my mouth because I'm too caught up in saying (or coming up with) the right thing.

A few Sundays ago, I found myself rehearsing in my mind what I was going to say and almost didn't let it come out of my mouth during our prayer time at church. The never-ending fight for perfectionism was getting exhausting. And I had just prayed earlier that morning that God would speak through me.

And before I even knew it, words started flooding out of my mouth. I can't vividly recall what I said, but it's honestly not my words that even mattered in that moment. It was the fact that I didn't let fear win--the fear of saying the right thing or making it worthy of "amen's" from those seated next to me.

For me, the important piece was having a heart of vulnerability, honesty, and surrender. Surrendering my worries and fears and just talking to God--and letting others into my heart and thoughts, too.

Prayer isn't as hard as I've made it out to be. And it's definitely not nearly as scary as I thought, either. It's a conversation with God and it's continued to be one of the best conversations I've ever had.

So here's to praying out loud. In the shower. Or writing them down in a journal. Here's to praying with friends. For friends. Here's to asking for prayer and letting others pray over you. Here's to praying for people across the globe, across the street, or across the aisle in the grocery store. And here's to praying without over-thinking it, too.
© IN ITS TIMEMaira Gall