How to Pray in Public

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Are you afraid to pray in public? Are you embarrassed at praying out loud?

Fear of Speaking

Are you afraid to pray in public? Are you embarrassed at praying out loud? Should a Christian pray out loud in public? Read on for some insights and tips that will make praying in a group easier and more meaningful.

Glossophobia is “the fear of public speaking.” I am unable to find a clinical term for “the fear of Public Praying” (I suspect there are enough similarities that a separate name is not warranted), but a name is not necessary for the intended purpose of this article anyway. This is not to be a clinical study (read that as worldly), but rather a spiritual one. I hope to help people recognize the role of Public Prayer in society and in the Church and to help people be better prepared when their turn comes to Pray in Public.

What is Public Prayer?

Public prayer is a somewhat vague term and can refer to several types of prayer, some of which are detailed below:

●      Praying silently/quietly, to oneself in a public area. In 1 Thessalonians, we’re told to pray without ceasing, but this should not be a stumbling block.

●      Praying aloud in a public area uninvited and with antagonistic intent. This act is certianly not one of love and God is love.

●      Praying aloud in public because you’re invited to do so and because it’s the right thing to do.

I’m sure there are other possibilities, but the third is what I’m addressing in this article.

“Pray without ceasing” (1 Thess 5:17).

Praying Out Loud

Every Christian is asked to pray out loud at one time or another. Inside the Church, we might be asked to pray in Sunday School classes, prayer meetings, Bible studies, and through the course of worship services; maybe just because it’s our turn. Outside of the Church, we’re might be called upon because others recognize that it’s proper to pray to God and they know you’re a Christian. Others may not feel like they have a strong enough of a relationship with God to do it themselves.

No matter what the circumstance, don’t turn down an opportunity to pray in public or private. Don’t deny your Lord in public when asked to pray!

Arguments Against Public Prayer

Argument #1

The Bible says We’re Not Supposed to Pray in Public

Scripture never commands us to not pray in public. On the other hand, Scripture does tell us how not pray in such a way as to try to exalt ourselves. In Luke 18, we have the story of the Pharisee and the tax collector. Both men prayed out loud and in public: the tax collector prayed earnestly to God and was justified; the Pharisee prayed to himself and left for home unjustified before God.

Argument #2

We’re Told to Lock Ourselves in Our Prayer Room

Yes, we are, but if you were to carefully reread Matthew 6, I think you’d realize that personal prayer and public prayer are different situations, but not necessarily mutually exclusive. Having a personal relationship with God is the foundation of the Christian faith and key to the prayer life. That personal relationship is what allows us to talk (pray) to God, one-on-one.

Everyone should endeavor to have a meaningful personal prayer life. The fact remains that from time to time, every practicing Christian will be called upon to pray in public settings like in church, special occasions like anniversaries, birthdays, at family gatherings, weddings, and even funerals.

“And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words” (Matt 6:7).

Argument #3

I Don’t Know How to Pray. I Don’t Know my Bible Well Enough. I Don’t Speak “thees” and “thous.” I’m Afraid to Pray Out Loud. I’m Just not Articulate Enough!

I don’t know how: that’s why you’re here reading this.

I don’t know my Bible well enough: continue in your studies, but don’t let it keep you from this area of worship and service to God.

I don’t speak “thees” and “thous”: neither do I, but God hears my prayers anyway. You don’t have to use the “King’s English,” as in the King James language.

I’m afraid to pray out loud and/or I’m just not articulate enough: Ah, I suspect that this is the real problem. Either we feel we’ll be judged by others in the group, and fall short of their expectations, or we feel inadequate to represent the rest of the group as we stand before God.

I don’t know your group; they may judge you harshly, but I think that in most cases, this is more of a perceived problem than a real probability. Your effort will be appreciated. Just keep it simple. Many will just be glad they’re not the ones having to pray out loud.

I do know God. Pray earnestly and He will not be disappointed.

Dos and Don’ts of Public Prayer

DON’T use this opportunity to show off your Bible knowledge or to display great oratory skill, shame anyone into repentance, advertise your cause or preach a mini-sermon.

We’ve all heard the man that can pray from Genesis to Revelations… using “thees” and “thous,” “shalts” and “shalt not’s,” addressing God by every name used in the Bible (some even in the original language); even calling down fire and brimstone in their prayers. If this is a show being performed to impress others, then it has no place among the assembly of God’s people and I don’t believe God will answer those prayers.

Do use this opportunity to approach the Throne of God, and to take the rest of the group with you.

Thank God for His goodness.

Pray targeted prayers, mentioning specific people, projects, or circumstances as appropriate.

Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working” (James 5:16).

Pray scripture back to God, use His names, remember His promises.

You’re not all alone with God, but that’s not a bad thing.

Pray with your eyes shut and your hands folded if you feel comfortable doing that…or you can pray with your eyes open and your hands raised. You can certainly pray from a broken heart or an uplifted spirit. Once you and your group have entered the presence of God, the rest doesn’t really matter.

Why Christians Say Amen

Ask God to help you pray better.

Getting Started

Pray in private first. Tell God your need and ask Him to help to learn how to pray.

Listen to the public prayers of others and learn what you can from them but don’t duplicate them.

Anticipate when you might be called upon for impromptu public prayer: mealtime, Sunday School, prayer meetings, little-league games, and local events for example. By doing this you’ll be better prepared.

Sometimes you don’t have to anticipate – you’re asked in advance. Often this happens in more formal settings and when there will be larger crowds (funerals, dedications, club meetings). Do it! This shows that you were selected on purpose and with forethought, not by random chance.

Prepare. It’s OK to rehearse. Rehearsing a prayer is the same as praying! God’s listening.

When the time comes, use whatever means you have to avoid being overly nervous. Trust God to help you. Know that your sacrifice is pleasing to the Lord.


One thing we know is that we are to be “Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints” (Eph 6:18), and that “prayers, intercession, and thanksgiving be made in behalf of all people, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity” (1 Tim 2:1-2). When we pray for these things, we can know that “This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior” (1 Tim 2:3), but here’s something also good. God “desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim 1:4), so we must tell people that Jesus “gave himself as a ransom for all” (1 Tim 2:6) who would believe in Him (John 3:16-17).

About the Author: Timothy M. Wilson works as a content provider for Essay Writing He is interested in self-development and spiritual awakening. So he likes keeping up with modern tendencies of personal development. It helps him plan ahead and have time to do everything.

Here is some related reading for you: 10 Awesome Bible Verses About the Power of Prayer

Resource – Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), Crossway Bibles. (2007). ESV: Study Bible: English standard version. Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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