But does God have a preference whether we pray aloud or silently?
“This, then, is how you should pray:
“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.
He doesn't specify if God prefers us to worship, confess, petition, and thank God aloud or silently. He simply gives us this model to shape how we pray when we pray.
“All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
In verses 25-26 we see the first word-for-word recorded prayer of Jesus in Matthew's account- and it reveals praise and worship-based prayer to the Father. This aligns perfectly with the beginning of Jesus' model prayer in Matthew 6:9. We also see Jesus instruct His followers (including you and me) to align ourselves (our hearts, minds, and souls) with Him by taking His yoke upon ourselves and learning from Him. Prayer is one vital part of the yoke we should take upon ourselves- if we haven't already done so! He promises that we'll find rest for our souls therein.
He (the LORD) says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.” - Psalm 46:10
39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”40 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. 41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”42 He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”43 When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. 44 So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing.45 Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour has come, and the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. 46 Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!”
From this passage, it appears Jesus prayed aloud (at least the portion he prayed three times). Someone present must have recorded His words before they fell asleep, or the Holy Spirit later shared the words Jesus prayed with Matthew following Jesus' resurrection.
Praying aloud can bring instant encouragement to others near the one praying aloud. If someone requests prayer, often the best time to pray is at the very moment while the praying person is in the presence of the one requesting prayer. Spoken prayer, in this situation, not only models prayer to the one requesting, but often brings instant hope, encouragement, or even joy, to the one burdened or requesting prayer.
How Should We Pray?
Lord, we love and praise you. You've provided the way to directly come before the Father and speak with Him. Thank you for prayer! Continue to teach us to pray each day- and by your Spirit, lead us in how you'd have us pray moment-by-moment. We desire to reflect your glory back to you and to others you place around us. Help us to keep our eyes firmly fixed on you, the Author and Perfecter of our faith. Have your way in and through us today- for your glory alone.
In Jesus' name, Amen.