The main thing I have to say about speaking out loud to God is that I need to do it somehow.
Partly it's as basic as being able to disentangle my prayers from the stream of random thoughts in my mind: When you pray out loud you know you've prayed. Also, prayer that percolates up to the lips, even if in barely a whisper, packs a force that stands a fighting chance against the screaming banshees of desire and mutiny. I pray out loud because the battle in me is fierce and so prayer must be fierce.
That's just for openers. But the Bible hints at a greater mystery. Romans 10:9-10 links our very salvation to what we confess out loud as well as to what we believe. It is a very strong statement:
". . . if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved."
"Let the redeemed of the LORD say so!" (Psalm 107:2) I think he means it literally.
For most of my Christian life I have labored under the demonic delusion (see James 3:15 for demonic thinking) that it was enough to fill just half the bill of Romans 10:9-10---to believe in the heart but not confess publicly. There are always half a dozen ways to spin a gap between your reality and your theology. You can say Paul's criterion that we "confess" Christ was met 30 years ago on membership Sunday when we said, "Yes." Or that it is met every Sunday when we sing hymns or do liturgical responsive readings.
Or you can take a more sophisticated approach and say that Paul's apparent salvation criterion of confessing Christ in public is not really a criterion at all but something merely desirable and to be aspired to, or something that we actually do "in principle" even where no words are spoken, by the very fact that we bear the name Christians and are therefore living testimonies. Heaven help us. No wonder Jesus talked about the narrow gate.
Standing against all our best sophistry, the Bible says:
"Out of the mouth of babes and infants, you have established strength because of your foes, to still the enemy and the avenger" (Psalm 8:2). Can this verse possibly mean what it says---that the public praise and worship of God, even from children, has the power to cancel the assignment of evil spirits? Is there any other way to read this verse?
Was it just the style in those days, and nothing more, when the Psalmists talked like this?
"I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds. I will be glad and exult in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High" (Psalm 9:1-2).
Or did the ancient songwriter really find himself praising the Lord out loud sometimes, perhaps when taking a walk in the woods, like Jonathan Edwards did? And like anyone does who finally notices he is desperate for God? And did he find a strangely greater power and authority to words spoken to God in the hearing of the angels, the demons, and men?
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