Vocal prayer isn’t hard
This week we’re getting into the nuts and bolts of the prayer world. Vocal prayer is effective on your own, in a group, or just with another person.
It’s more than just saying “grace” before a meal. Vocal prayer is essentially praying using the written word. So it can be prayer that someone else wrote, and then we can memorize it and/or read it. It can come from many sources.
Where do I start?
I recommend reading from God’s Word, the Bible, as one of the best sources. The Psalms and Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John in the New Testament) are great places to start. Much of Psalms is beautifully written and poetic.
The Lord’s Prayer, the prayer Jesus taught in the book of Matthew, chapter 11, verses 25-26 is probably one of the most well-known and most used vocal prayers of the last two millennia.
The 23rd Psalm is another great example of a prayer one can memorize and repeat. This is important for a few reasons. 1. It forces our mind to focus. 2. Sometimes the prayers of others are absolutely beautiful and can help us contemplate more deeply. 3. These are great for group settings to pray in unity.
Can I write my own?
Prayers from the Bible are great, but you can also write your own prayers. One of my readers shared that he started having his family pray together at dinnertime after reading Rethink Happy. He then decided to write their own family prayer that they now use as a special time together at dinner.
You can pray out loud on your own, in a group, or with just one other person. Vocal prayer is very effective in a group setting. But vocal prayer is excellent when done alone as well.
I begin and end my day with vocal prayer and also use vocal prayer before meals. I sometimes pray with my family or with my wife, Kate, using vocal prayer as well.
Don’t just regurgitate it
Simply memorizing and spitting out the words like a drone isn’t going to be very effective for most people. The primary focus should be on the words themselves and in attempting to get our hearts and souls behind them.
To only intellectually read a prayer could stifle its effectiveness. Vocal prayers should not become robotic. They should be said with conviction and involve our senses so that both our body and our spirit are involved.
When focused and engaged, vocal prayer can be a gateway to more contemplative prayer.
Keep it simple
Start small. Baby steps can help you ease into adding vocal prayer to your life if you’ve not adopted this habit before. If you need some help, there are websites available with some prayers you can use, with the prayers ranging from just a few simple sentences to several paragraphs.
If you’d like to try The Lord’s Prayer, take a look at some information about it online to give you some direction and to give it even more meaning.
When to do it
Vocal prayer is something that can be done almost any time. Some people say regular prayers throughout the day. You can pray out loud before meals, when you’re alone in an elevator, at home by your bed, etc.
I know some who have a mantra or mantras they say regularly during the day. Short vocal prayers that typically consist of thanksgiving, praise or adoration.
Another category of prayer is petitions, which is making our requests known to God, either for help for ourselves or others. We can pray with someone about a concern they have, or we can just offer to pray for them when we are having our own private vocal prayer time. This form is typically more extemporaneous rather than a set vocal prayer.
Challenge #14: Choose a prayer from Psalms, choose The Lord’s Prayer, or choose one from this website. Then commit to praying it once a day for the next week. Think about the words as you say them, and focus on the meaning of those words. Let me know how this affects you throughout the week!
Who is Doug? Doug Kisgen is an author, entrepreneur and personality expert. His primary work? Raising his five kids with his wife of 20+ years in the hill country of Texas. For ways to put these ideas into practice, check out Doug’s book, Rethink Happy: An Entrepreneur’s Journey Toward Authentic Joy, available as an e-book now, or pre-order the paperback!