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The answer to that excellent question is a resounding YES! God “hears” our prayers, whether they are spoken out loud or in silence. We have a beautiful example of silent prayer in Nehemiah 2:1-6, which reads, “And it came to pass in the month Nisan, in the twentieth year of Artaxerzes the king, that wine was before him: and I took up the wine, and gave it unto the king. Now I had not been beforetime sad in his presence. Wherefore the king said unto me, Why is thy countenance sad, seeing thou are not sick? this is nothing else but sorrow of heart. Then I was very sore afraid. And I said unto the king, Let the king live forever: why should not my countenance be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers’ sepulchers, lieth waste, and the gates thereof are consumed with fire? Then the king said unto me, For what dost thou make request? So I prayed to the God of heaven. And I said unto the king, If it please the king, and if thy servant have found favour in thy sight, that thou wouldest send me unto Judah, unto the city of my fathers’ sepulchers, that I may build it. And the king said unto me, (the queen also sitting by him,) For how long wilt thou return? So it pleased the king to send me; and I set him a time.”

We learn from this lovely passage that Nehemiah was a godly Israelite who was burdened for the city of Jerusalem which lay in ruins. His burden was so heavy one could see sorrow written all over his face. The King asked why he was sad and we can well imagine Nehemiah’s concern as to how to answer, for sadness was not allowed in the King’s presence.  For an example of this, I encourage you to read Esther 4:1-2.  What did Nehemiah do?  He “prayed to the God of heaven!” Another has said, “His lips did not speak, his knees were not bowed, nor did the king see any other sign that Nehemiah prayed. Yet there was earnest believing and prevailing prayer.”  This was a quick “cry to God” and it made its way immediately to the Throne of God.  Nehemiah had prayed earlier in private as we read in Nehemiah 1:11, “O Lord, I beseech thee let now Thine ear be attentive to the prayer of Thy servant , and to the prayer of Thy servants, who desire to fear Thy name: and prosper, I pray Thee, Thy servant this day, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man, For I was the King’s cupbearer.”  Now he’s standing in the very presence of “this man” and he prays again, perhaps repeating the same words, but this time in complete silence.  Did the Lord answer His servant’s prayer?  He most surely did, as we saw from the passage quoted.  Silent prayers work!

I don’t know that we are ever told to “pray out loud” in Scripture, though it is surely fitting in most instances.  When believers come together for collective prayer they will surely pray out loud for the edification of all. The same would hold true for someone giving thanks for others at a meal or for some other occasion; we pray out loud so others can add their Amen. Even in our individual prayers to God He loves to hear our actual voices, as illustrated in many of the Psalms of David. When we do “pray out loud,” let us be sure it is primarily for God’s ears, and not simply to be “heard of men.” The Lord spoke of this in Matthew 6:5, “When thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, they have their reward.” The next verse is most instructive, “But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and Thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.”  What is of utmost importance is having communion with our heavenly Father in prayer and to gain “His ear” with our petitions, just as Nehemiah did. It may be “audible” in most cases, as with David in Psalm 18:6, “In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried unto my God: He heard my voice out of His temple, and my cry came before Him, even into His ears.”  Or it may be the “silent” cry of our heart, as with Nehemiah. In either case we can be assured that  as we read in Psalm 34:15, “The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and His ears are open unto their cry.”  (127.1)  (DO)