Are We to Pray Without Speaking?
Her counsel regarding prayer stands out as most curious. She offered her wisdom during her testimony at midweek prayer meeting: “But, when you pray, there are some prayer requests you should never speak out loud; that way the devil can’t counterfeit a blessing.”
It sounded like a defensive prayer system designed to frustrate Satan’s efforts, through counterfeit blessings, to overthrow God’s will to bless His people. As I listened, questions sprang to mind. Does the threat of demonic counterfeiting mean we should avoid praying aloud? Is God powerless to prevent Satan’s intrusive counterfeiting? And is the only safe prayer a silent prayer?
We know that prayer is a vital component of our relationship with our heavenly Father. As He cleansed the Temple, Jesus emphasized the importance of prayer: “My house shall be a house of prayer for all nations” (Mark 11:17). We know, too, that God does not need us to verbalize our petitions. He knows our thoughts, because He can read our hearts. Psalm 44:21 states, “For He knows the secrets of the heart.” Jesus proclaimed in Luke 16:15, “God knows your hearts.” Peter’s testimony in Acts 15:8 tells us, “So God, who knows the heart, acknowledged them by giving them the Holy Spirit.”
But to keep the devil out of the Father’s business is it necessary to encrypt our prayers with silence? A relevant question, given Paul’s declaration in Romans 8:26: “For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us.”
The thought of encrypting prayers to prevent demonic tampering brings to mind the scientific observations of Isaac Newton. Remember, Newton stated, “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” Maybe this is why some “pray without speaking,” hoping to check Satan in his attempt to subvert of the will of God. However, for a believer, Newton’s third law of motion has no bearing on the nature of our prayers. In fact, although Mr. Newton’s findings are valid for the physical sciences, in the spiritual realm they have no value.
Imagine, if you will, a set of circumstances in which a child of God prays and Lucifer takes an action to counterfeit an answer to that prayer. God sees what the devil is doing, but He’s powerless to fully intervene. Indeed, the best God could offer would be an equal and opposite reaction. The prospects of such a scenario should chill the heart of every believer. Think about it. If the best our heavenly Father could do in the face of demonic forces would be to offer an equal and opposite reaction, there would be no prospects, ever, for us to achieve any victories in the battle with satanic forces. The best we could hope for would be a tie every time righteousness confronted wickedness.
Embracing the concept that we need to cloak our prayers in silence supports the devil’s efforts to reduce an all-powerfull God to being merely a satanic peer.
There is a clear sanctified response to such teaching: Our God has no equals! He declares it in Isaiah 45:5: “I am the Lord, and there is no other; there is no God besides Me.” The Lord God has no colleagues, no contemporaries. He alone is God!
Questions of praying without speaking come down to power. Do we pray silently because the Lord is powerless to prevent the devil’s subversion of heaven’s blessings? Does God have the power to short-circuit the evil one’s efforts to bamboozle humanity with faux blessings? And if God is able to offer only an equal and opposite reaction, does He have to sit by helplessly as Satan abuses us?
Exposing the bogus nature of such Luciferian claims requires only that we look to Scripture. Job 5:9 tells us that “He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted.” In 2 Chronicles 20:6 we read: “O Lord God of our fathers, are You not God in heaven . . . and in Your hand is there not power and might, so that no one is able to withstand you?” The apostles also testify of God’s mighty power. In Ephesians 1:19 Paul writes: “And what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power.” And we see declared in Revelation 15:8: “The temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from His power.”
Finally, while encouraging prayer, Jesus never mentioned a need to pray without speaking. He does remind us in John 14:13 that “whatever you ask in My name, that I will do.” And in John 16:23 we find this precious promise: “Whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you.” Praying aloud becomes a concern only as we offer confessions of sin that might be overheard by family or friends. Otherwise, no one needs to fear praying aloud. We can pray in the name of Jesus with confidence, because we know that all power is given to Him in heaven and in earth (see Matthew 28:18). Paul’s admonition to pray without ceasing remains valid. We should pray early and often, without any fear of the devil and possible faux blessings. We simply need to pray. Whether you choose to pray aloud or only in your heart is up to you.