Why You Should Master Silent Prayer

Praying in silence doesn't come easily, but it's of utmost importance in every believer's prayer life.

I lost my voice on Sunday night.

When I got home from our church that night, I was croaking out words in a low raspy tone. It didn’t sound good.

Monday morning – no voice. Great.

We are starting 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting, and I was looking forward to our morning prayer gatherings. This is not the best time to lose my voice. But then again, when is?

I’ve been praying, though – quietly. Silently.

Silent prayer is:

  • not easy. When most people think of silent prayer, it’s that moment in a public gathering – a sporting event – and the speaker says something like, “Please join me in a moment of silence for those who lost their lives . . .” For about 30 seconds no one says anything.
  • powerful and effective. It’s often part of my prayer experience. This is a time of silence before God. I try to spiritually close the door to any influence from the world. It is when I enter into His presence by an act of faith. During this period of silence, I tune in to God Himself and direct my whole being to Him and commit myself to Him.

I can’t usually start here. I have ADD. My mind is all over the place.

I usually worship for a few minutes. Then I pray about some things on my mind. I offer specific silent prayer requests and intercession. The scriptures tell us, “He knows our thoughts…”

And then I get quiet.

Sometimes I read the Word of God – slowly. I ask the Holy Spirit to speak to me through the scriptures. I listen. I think.

“God direct my thoughts. I come into Your presence to be with You.”

Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. – Psalm 46:11

I don’t mean to sound too mystical or spooky. It’s prayer and prayer is a conversation – not a one-way conversation coming from me. I know I need to listen better. This is a time for deep personal and intimate communication between God and myself.

I need to receive more from Him. I need to soak in His presence, embrace faith and trust. I need to actually let go of the worries I brought to Him. I listen. I listen some more, with my ears, with my heart and with my spirit. I listen for the song of heaven.

mother-teresa-silent-prayerMother Theresa was once asked about her prayer life. The interviewer asked, “When you pray, what do you say to God?”

Mother Teresa replied, “I don’t talk, I simply listen.”

Believing he understood what she had just said, the interviewer next asked, “Ah, then what is it that God says to you when you pray?”

Mother Teresa replied, “He also doesn’t talk. He also simply listens.”

There was a long silence, with the interviewer seeming a bit confused and not knowing what to ask next.

Finally Mother Teresa breaks the silence by saying, “If you can’t understand the meaning of what I’ve just said, I’m sorry but there’s no way I can explain it any better.”

I am a limited, finite and flawed human being coming into the presence of God as the Unlimited, Infinite and Holy Being. It’s like lying in the sun soaking in its warmth or breathing in the fresh air in the mountains.

This time of waiting on the Lord cannot be hurried; there is no place for impatience and haste during this time. This is the time to let your RPM’s slow down.

During this time I focus on God the Father, His Son, Jesus your Redeemer, and the Holy Spirit. I may whisper, “Oh God. Oh Jesus, I love you. Fill me Holy Spirit.” I don’t need to express my thoughts in words. I concentrate on my relationship love for God.

You should try this sometime. But don’t wait till you lose your voice. Try this so you can discover His voice.

Here’s a lovely song to listen to while you dedicate your time to silent prayer.

Philip Wagner
I am the Lead Pastor of Oasis Church in Los Angeles. My wife, Holly, and I started the church over 28 years ago with 10 people, in a home Bible Study in Beverly Hills. I like to write about leadership, ministry, relationships, marriage, and social justice.