As I’ve read, prayed, grown, and studied throughout the years, I’ve often thought about prayer. Specifically, can I pray silently, or does prayer count only when I pray out loud?
Prayer (in my definition) is essentially communication with God. We can communicate through an array of means, much more than the simple words that flow from our mouths. Verbal and visual prayers can communicate with God just the same. Here is two records of when “silent prayer,” was answered by God:
The Servant of Abraham Prays Silently
The story in the Scriptures is much more focused on Abraham, his son Issac, and the trip of the servant to bring Issac a wife, Rebekah. (You can read the entire story in Genesis 24.)
The servant is charged with going to find a wife for Abraham’s son. This is the first record of anyone praying for God’s guidance in the Scriptures:
And he said, “O LORD, God of my master Abraham, please grant me success today and show steadfast love to my master Abraham. Behold, I am standing by the spring of water, and the daughters of the men of the city are coming out to draw water. Let the young woman to whom I shall say, ‘Please let down your jar that I may drink,’ and who shall say, ‘Drink, and I will water your camels’—let her be the one whom you have appointed for your servant Isaac. By this I shall know that you have shown steadfast love to my master.”
– Genesis 24:12–14
Is he talking out loud so people could hear him? Is he whispering silently, but audibly, to himself? Or is he praying silently, in his mind?
Before he had finished speaking, behold, Rebekah, who was born to Bethuel the son of Milcah, the wife of Nahor, Abraham’s brother, came out with her water jar on her shoulder.
– Genesis 24:15
It really seems like he was talking out loud, as it says, “before he had finished speaking.” It doesn’t get much clearer. However, later on some clarity is given to the event. Once things go awesome and it appears the servant has found Issacs wife, he gets invited to dinner. Before he can eat, he tells everyone the events of the day. And he says something that is profound:
“Before I had finished speaking in my heart, behold, Rebekah came out with her water jar on her shoulder, and she went down to the spring and drew water.
– Genesis 24:45
Hannah Prays Silently for A Child
Hannah had no children. God had seemingly closed her womb. To make matters worse, she had to share her husband with another woman. That woman would rub salt in the wound and gloat about her kids to Hannah. Finally, it came to a point where Hannah couldn’t take it and poured out her feelings to God:
As she continued praying before the LORD, Eli observed her mouth. Hannah was speaking in her heart; only her lips moved, and her voice was not heard. Therefore Eli took her to be a drunken woman. And Eli said to her, “How long will you go on being drunk? Put your wine away from you.”
But Hannah answered, “No, my lord, I am a woman troubled in spirit. I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have been pouring out my soul before the LORD. Do not regard your servant as a worthless woman, for all along I have been speaking out of my great anxiety and vexation.”
Then Eli answered, “Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition that you have made to him.” And she said, “Let your servant find favor in your eyes.” Then the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad.
– 1 Samuel 1:12–18
Hannah, ends up having a son, and she dedicates him to God in the ways she promised in her prayer.
God Will Respond to Your Silent Prayers
These two examples give us more than enough understanding to show that God answers silent prayers along with spoken prayers. You should sit back and rest, knowing that your silent prayers have been noticed by God.
God gave the servant divine direction; He gave Hannah the impossible child. He will surely respond to your silent praying.