I dreaded praying out loud in front of others. Being asked to pray in a small group or meeting would make me feel super nervous.
Thoughts would begin to circle around in my mind. What if I stuttered? What if I said something stupid? What if I had nothing to say?
Can you relate? Does the thought of praying out loud make you nervous? Don’t worry, it’s a struggle for many people. Public speaking is considered the number one fear for Americans.
If you struggle with praying in front of others like I once did, here are some ways to calm your nerves and make you feel at ease.
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Let the Holy Spirit Guide You
My top fear is public speaking but I often have to give presentations.
One time, before going up in front of the class, I prayed in my mind. I asked the Holy Spirit to be with me as I present. I felt the Holy Spirit within me comforting me as I went up there. It made me feel a lot better and I ended up doing well.
The Holy Spirit dwells within every believer. He’s there to help us. Before going to meetings or get-togethers, ask the Holy Spirit to guide you and calm your nerves.
The Bible says, “The Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans,” (Romans 8:26–27 ESV).
Cling to the promises of God. He is with you always — even when you pray.
Take a Deep Breath
This is another technique I’ve used to help calm me.
I become very anxious when it comes to public speaking. This includes praying in public. I’ve noticed, though, when I take a deep breath this helps calm my mind for a moment. Instead of all the anxious thoughts, my mind is stilled.
Still your mind with a deep breath before prayer time. Focus on your breathing and nothing else.
When you’ve calmed your mind, start to pray.
Keep Your Prayers Short
You don’t have to be eloquent in your prayers. Keep your prayers short and simple. Don’t feel bad about it either. It’s okay.
The Bible says, “When you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words,” (Matthew 6:7 ESV).
It’s better to have a sincere short and simple prayer than to have an insincere long and wordy prayer.
Pray using your own words. God hears you.
Practice Praying Out Loud When You’re Alone
If you do something multiple times, you’re bound to get more comfortable with it. When you’re alone, pray out loud.
You don’t have to stress about people watching or listening to you pray. Just pray what’s on your mind.
When I first started getting serious about prayer, I’d sit on one chair, set up a second chair, and talk to Jesus as if he was sitting on that chair. It helped me feel like He was truly there.
Practice Praying With Others
The best way to get more comfortable with doing something is to practice.
I’ve never really liked praying in front of others, but once I started practicing, it came naturally. If you’re called to pray in front of others, just do it. It doesn’t have to be eloquent or long. You can keep it simple.
If you’re not feeling up to the task of volunteering, try practicing with:
- family members
- someone in leadership
Whenever you have a chance to pray, try to do so. The only way you’ll gain more confidence is if you practice.
Keep a List of Prayer Ideas
You might not know what to pray for on the spot. That’s okay. Instead of freeballing it, try keeping a list of prayer ideas.
To help you get the ball rolling, I’ve compiled a short list of prayer ideas.
- ask for prayer requests
- give thanks
- confess your sins
- pray for Christians who are persecuted
- pray for leaders in the church
- pray for your needs
- pray scripture over your life
- ask for direction in your life
- pray for unspoken prayer requests
Finally, don’t worry about messing up. It’s a process. Praying publicly can be intimidating — especially when you’re new to it.
- Let the Holy Spirit guide you.
- Take a deep breath.
- Keep your prayers short.
- Practice praying out loud when you’re alone.
- Practice praying with others.
- Keep a list of prayer ideas.
What do you think? Are you feeling more up to the task? Let me know in the comments below. 🙂
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