And we wait for that first or second brave soul to speak up.
Sometimes silence echoes in the room, while our brains tell us to just speak up already. At some point, the silence taunts even louder as we wait for someone to wrap it up and say the elusive, AMEN.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love group prayers. I think they are a necessity.
But I am not a fan of this particular method of group prayer. Neither are most people I talk to.
So why do we continue to do it? If you know, feel free to enlighten me.
I don’t dislike it solely because of the awkward silence that seems so daunting. I don’t mind praying out loud but it does push me out of my comfort zone.
Reasons I dislike this type of prayer:
- It scares off newcomers. Do you want to be put into that position to pray out loud when you don’t know anyone and aren’t sure if this is the church for you? Talk about putting a newbie on the spot.
- The droners. You know the ones. They pray forever and I’ll be honest, it is very hard to stay focused and keep my mind on prayer when the prayer goes on and on and on…
- There is always that one person who overshares in the prayer. They might share someone else’s personal information making everyone uncomfortable. Some folks say what ever comes to their mind when they are uncomfortable or put on the spot. If you’re that person, it’s probably really unhealthy for your blood pressure.
- Someone in the group usually has the gift of prayer and can pray for the entire group and individual needs. This is just as effective as each individual praying, and for me, is easier to focus on.
- It can be downright hard to hear some voices in the group as they pray. – Happened in bible study two weeks ago. The other groups were done before ours and were talking so loudly, I could not hear anything any of my group said.
- If you say you aren’t comfortable praying out loud, you can end up feeling judged. No one needs that.
- It’s a distraction during the time others are praying if you are worrying about what you are going to say so you don’t sound like a dufus.
If you are a leader, please reconsider making people pray out loud. I have personally heard people say they won’t return to a bible study or small group where they are forced to pray out loud. If I were brand new and I showed up to a study and was told I had to pray out loud, I wouldn’t come back. My husband would be one of those who wouldn’t come back, new or not.
What are your feelings on this type of prayer? Do you like it? Hate it? Please share in the comments because what you have to say is more important!