9 Ways to Get Over the Fear of Praying Out Loud

Several weeks ago, I wrote about the importance of praying out loud with your children:

Prayer is the heart of a relationship with Jesus.  How can there be relationship without communication? If we want our kids to develop a relationship with Him, they have to become comfortable with prayer, and that is much less likely to happen if they only hear prayers in church on Sundays. Praying as a family is critical.

Despite the importance of family prayer, it has been very difficult for me to overcome my fear of praying out loud, even when the “audience” only involves small children and a husband. I know many people have this fear, so today I’m sharing nine things I have found helpful in getting over it. Don’t let your prayer discomfort minimize your opportunity to give your children the life-long gift of a rich prayer life!

1.       Pray out loud when you’re alone.

If no one is around to hear you pray, do you feel comfortable praying out loud in front of yourself? I found one day that I couldn’t even do that! Start praying out loud when you’re alone and you’ll eliminate the surprise of hearing your own voice before you actually pray in front of someone else.

2.       Accept that you don’t have to pray like other people.

I’m not a poetic, beautifully-flowing-praise-language kind of person. The problem is, it seems like everyone I hear praying out loud is. That has developed an expectation in my own mind that prayer needs to sound beautiful. My prayers sound conversational. When I accepted that and no longer tried to pray like other people pray, it became much easier. Pray out loud just like you would pray silently.

3.       Keep your prayers short. Really, it’s OK.

I’ve mentally made it into such an event when I pray out loud that I feel like I really have to go all out and say something big when I do it. When you go long for the sake of going long, however, you end up saying things that are less heartfelt, less natural, and more awkward. Then you don’t want to do it again. Whenever you would normally end a silent prayer, end your verbal prayer.

4.       Try new types of prayer on your own before trying them out loud.

I would like to start praying over my children at night, to give them the blessing of a prayer said just for them. However, I don’t currently pray for them unless there is a specific need, such as healing. The thought of suddenly praying out loud for conceptual things like their spiritual development and discernment is intimidating and keeps me from doing it. I’m going to start praying for them on my own for a while until I feel comfortable enough to pray audibly over them.

5.       Write down what you want to pray about before you pray.

If part of your fear relates to just not knowing what to say, it is immensely helpful to write down a set number of things that you want to pray about before you get started. This works really well when praying out loud with kids, because they are in the same boat of uncertainty as they learn what prayer is all about. Work with them to create the prayer list, then use it to pray together out loud.

6.       Embrace the opportunity to pray out loud when you are especially troubled.

This might sound counterintuitive, but chances are, it’s easier for you to pray out loud when you are the most troubled. Why? Because you know exactly what to talk about. There is something very specific on your heart at that moment. It’s often most intimidating to pray when there is nothing wrong because the sky is the limit on things to be grateful for and things to praise God for. Where do you even start? Embrace the opportunity to pray out loud when you have something very specific to talk about!

7.       When praying for others, ask them for one specific prayer request.

There may be nothing more terrifying to me than being placed in a situation where I’m asked to pray with or for another person directly (e.g., at a retreat, in a small group, after church, etc.). It’s very difficult to be thrown into a prayer situation you aren’t prepared for. Unless you’ve already ducked out to the bathroom, ask the person for one specific thing they want you to pray for to avoid an onslaught of requests you fear you won’t remember. Their specific answer will help you feel more prepared.

8.       In the context of family prayers, try leading a “round-table” style.

When we pray at night, we often do a round-table prayer where the person leading the prayer says a simple introduction and then says, “…and Nathan would like to thank you for (Nathan gives thanks)…and Kenna would like to thank you for (Kenna gives thanks)…” and so on. This is a great way to ease into praying out loud because you are only acting as a “facilitator” of the prayer. It’s less pressure for you, and gives your kids the opportunity to get used to praying out loud themselves.

9.       Start with meal time prayers.

If the idea of any audible prayer makes you shudder, simply start with meal time prayers. You can do it: “Dear God, Thank you for this food. In Jesus’ name, Amen.” Say it with your children, say it with your spouse. But say it. Even those few words will open the door to more comfort with praying out loud.

What barriers do you have to praying out loud? What has helped you become more comfortable?


  1. Jennifer says:

    I think the main thing is just praying out loud often. At first you will be nervous, but the more you do it the more normal it becomes. :)

  2. So interesting, because I thought I was in a minority here. And guess what? I’m a pastor, and I hate praying out loud. Really. You share some great ideas, especially letting people know it’s OK to keep it short and real.

  3. Natasha, this speaks directly to me! I have feared praying out loud for so long, and only in the last two years or so have I been pushing myself out of the silent box I’d rather comfortably stay inside of. I started with praying out loud for my kids at bedtime, in their presence. It was hard. But I survived and learned that they love it! The only thing they said every once in a while was “mommy, that was a really long prayer!” Now they actually ask me to pray for and with them. We also pray before meals and I’ve started asking the girls to say the blessing if I’m still putting things on the table and my husband is running late from work. I love hearing their cute voices say the blessing. We also hold hands around the table, which I love. I know this is an issue God is pushing me to grow stronger in because He seems to be putting me in more and more situations where I’m leading a group and SHOULD pray before we start. Of course afterward, I usually kick myself for letting fear keep me from doing the right thing. I know I can do it. I know He has equipped me. I know that even when I can’t find the words, The Holy Spirit will prompt me. I just hate being tongue tied and feeling like I’ll sound like a fool. This is all great advice that you give. I will be praying for you to find the courage to improve in your prayer life. Would you also pray for me? :) Thank you so much, dear friend!

    • Rosann, I get sweaty hands even reading about someone else praying in front of a group. haha :) Thank you for sharing your prayer challenges, and for your kind offer to pray for me! I will certainly pray for you as well. May we both depend on the Holy Spirit rather than ourselves!

  4. These are perfect suggestions. We have been praying together before meals for quite some time now, but i have been wanting other ways to introduce it to my boys at other times of the day. I like the “facilitator” idea and writing prayers down first sounds like a good way to get all of us prepared for prayer. It is thought provoking when you have to write things down. Thank you!

    • That’s great Denise, thank you! I’m so glad you were able to gain some ideas from it. “Facilitation” helped me a lot to get used to hearing my own voice. Then slowly I started saying more at the beginning of the prayer before I “called” on each person. Now I can say the prayers much more easily!

  5. Thank you so much for this! I really felt like I was alone in my prayer-insecurity. I was saved in college and I grew up in an environment where praying aloud was discouraged. Even now, years later, I panic in some of the situations you described.
    The thing that really hits home for me is that my prayer can be personal to me, it doesn’t have to fit some sort of model or formula for prayer. The idea is so liberating. Thank you.

  6. What if you have a hard time praying out loud?? I stutter when I talk so sometimes it’s very depressing when I’m trying to really express myself verbally to God and the words don’t come out.

    • Hi, this is kinda 1.5 years late but, well, as long as your heart is 101% in it, don’t worry about your stutter when you’re praying because God already knows your heart even before you express yourself verbally.
      “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think they will be heard for their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” -Matthew 6:7-8

      I was saved in August 2013 and till now I’m still feeling nervous when praying out loud. Hopefully I’ll be able to get over this fear with your great advice! Thank you so much Natasha!

  7. Thank you so much for this! At school, we have an impact group every Tuesday I’ve been going to since 7th grade, and from them until even now (I’m a freshmen), I’ve been too afraid to pray out loud! Thank you for your helpful advice, it will come in handy :-)

  8. I am so thankful that I found this! This year I was asked to lead a youth group and the Pastor told me he would like me to end with prayer at every meeting. I panicked and continue too. Reading this and all the post make me feel like I’m not alone. I have felt so insecure about this that I was even embarrassed to talk to anyone about it. But I felt I had to talk about it because it was really killing me. I told the Pastor I didn’t know how to pray and said to me “God isn’t fussy.” I try to remember that but I still feel judged by others when I do. This will really help me in my walk, thank you so much for sharing.

    • I am totally the same way. I always feel everyone else just prays with such ease. It just comes out and always sounds so professional! I just don’t know how to do that. Once I start talking I can’t think of what I want to say next. I thought I was the only one that felt that way too.

  9. I just took over as chairperson on a committee at church. I will have to open and close the meetings with a prayer. I was raised a Catholic where all the prayers were the same and from memory. How am I ever going to be able to do this? I am so nervous. I’m thinking about writing some short prayers for each and learning them. Would that be too cheesy?

  10. Thank you sooooo much for this!!! I stumbled on it today & it was JUST what I needed. I feel God leading me as a prayer warrior & I do GREAT on my own, but when it come to praying out loud I freeze. I too felt I needed to sound like everyone else. Thank you for showing me I can pray the way I pray & not feel like I have to “sound” like everyone else! God bless you abundantly!!!!!!!

  11. I was really active in church some years back. The youth group I was in grew in number rapidly and I was put to take care of the younger kids. I had been dicipling them and leading them into prayers without any fear. But after some time, my walk with God became shaky as there were some disagreement with my leader. The hurt and awkwardness drew me away from church.

    5 years later, I decided that I should not let this problem be a stumbling block in my walk with God. I struggled and plucked up my courage to return to church.

    After I’m back in church, I realised that I have new struggles.. I can’t praise and worship God freely like how I used to. I can’t pray openly like how I used to. Even during a small group sharing, I’ll tremble and break cold sweat as I share my problems..

    My prayer style is conversational. I can pray really smoothly in my heart, but when I’m told to pray it out loud, I’ll panic.

    My boyfriend who has been encouraging me all this while had been making me pray over our meals. The fear in me kept me begging him to not let me do it. One day, I finally did it! I cried after that but he was cheering for me!

    Until this day, I’m still struggling to pray openly. My boyfriend led me to this page, hoping that it will be of help. I’ll try them and I hope that I’ll be able to pray freely like how I used to.. I dont want to be trap in this fear anymore.. It’s suffocating, unable to get near to God..

  12. Same here. So fearful of praying in a setting with other people. I listen to some begin to pray for others in the group and they sound so sincere and professional. I believe that I truly care for others and have empathy, but am too concerned about myself and how I might sound that I can’t pray for others. I am attending a women’s group of about 30 ladies once a month and some of them sound great when they pray. Everyone in the group is taking turns sharing their testimony, and I’m concerned about that also. Don’t know if I can do it because of nerves. However, Satan has kept me quiet and insecure all of my life. I might just step out and continue the meetings, praying, and giving my testimony just to give him a black eye because I’m tired of leaving the meetings without being able to speak out.

  13. This is wonderful! Thank You!!

  14. Thank you for posting this.. really. I too struggle with praying out loud, so much that I even mentioned this to some of the members of my church. They most graciously understood but I did get the feeling that this is something which I need to concentrate on. Especially with why I am struggling.. is it because I want to please people more instead of the Lord? When I pray alone, sometimes I pray out loud… I guess that’s something I need to pray about.

    • Brandy Badgett says:

      Hi Marie,
      I understand your situation and I don’t think, at all, it’s because you want to please others more than God. I think we feel that we will forget what we wanted to say in front of someone during prayer or that it sounds weird to appear that we are talking to ourselves. I think you are one of many, including myself, that has this issue. Just keep on praying and maybe it will become easier for both of us. God bless.

      • So nice to here I am not alone. I have had this fear all of my christian life(many many years) . I am in a bible study and after prayer requests was asked to close in prayer. My response was “no, I’m not good at that”. I feel embarrassed that i couldnt pray but am terrified not just to pray in a group, but to do any kind of public speaking. I pray with my husband and daughters but its really hard for me in front of other people. I don’t know why but that’s just the way it is. My group leader looked at me like I was nuts when I said no.

  15. Brandy Badgett says:

    Hi everyone,
    I am a fairly new Christian, about 2 years, and my life feels so much more fulfilled, but praying out loud has been an obstacle for me so I went in search of a website and luckily found this one. I was sitting in church this morning and witnessing a man praying out loud with another person. I was envious because he seemed to be able to do this without a thought first. I want this so much. I think about praying with my family all the time, but chicken out when it comes down to it. My family is also not where I am spiritually, which makes things more challenging. I find myself rehearsing prayers in my head and I feel that it is unnatural. Luckily I ran across this website and found this is not so uncommon. I found a lot of helpful hints. God bless.

  16. Angelica Hendenderson says:

    I thought I was the only person in America that find it hard to pray out loud my husband is a pastor and recently I have been opening up the church service in prayer and scripture, it is so challenging for me on Sunday’s, I know I think about it too much, and find myself sometimes lost for words, I truly love the Lord but this is so hard for me; I find myself praying about this all the time. After reading your story I am going to start out by keeping my prayers short and let it build from there. Thanks for sharing. Be blessed!

  17. This site was blessing for me to find. I recently joined a youth committee at church, and the first meeting everyone prayed out loud for the person beside them and then said a prayer. It was very scary for me and my voice became shaky, after the meeting, I realized that it didn’t matter what the others thought it was only what GOD had thought. I feel that if you step out of your comfort zone to praise GODS name and those around you, GOD gives you the strength from within to prosper in his name.

  18. I always tell myself that but doesn’t seem to help. I guess I think if I am so worried about how I sound to others then the prayer is really not to God.

    • Trust God in bring your fears, stresses and worries to him..Maybe you have some sin in your life that you have not fessed up to.. Sister …we have our advocate…He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins !!!Go to Jesus and stop carrying the weight! :)

  19. Hello everyone. I’m in tears right now reading all your posts. I never for one second thought there were others like myself who struggle with praying out loud.
    I also find myself rehearsing prayers but when situation presents itself, I tend to shy away and conveniently ‘disappear’ from the room (e.g mini church gatherings). I really feel small and ashamed after doing that but I can’t seem to help it.

    I stumbled upon this website too in trying to research about this and ways to overcome this problem of mine. God is so great because He led me to a group of people who experience the same things I do. I truly am not alone.

    I have learnt a few pointers on how to face my fear. I trust and believe that God will see me through this and I’ll too be a testimony for someone going through this.

    Thank you all and may God richly bless you and give you the confidence and boldness which comes with being a child of God.

  20. Hello everyone, just when I thought I was the only one who struggles at praying out loud, here I am reading about the same issues I have, such as fear, insecurity and even asking God how can he help and he led me to your website. Thanks for all the great tips and suggestions. I know my prayer life will only get better from here on. May God continue to bless you in your ministry.

  21. Ermelinda Zarate says:

    Hello All,

    I have been blessed to have married a Christian man and also share this same fear. Its so easy for me to pray out loud by myself but I cant seem to do it in my husbands presence. This thanksgiving he requested I pray and I told him he should do it. I’m sure he was somewhat disappointed. Thank you for the suggestions. With Gods help I will get through this.

  22. I work at an outreach center. I am new in my learning and walking in Christianity although I have always believed in God. Before this job I had never been comfortable speaking in front of a crown, and very impervious about praying with others
    The only things that had helped is I am a recent college graduate at the age of 50 years old and we had to do presentations, that helped me to over come that fear. Then now with my job I have to ask clients if they want to pray most say yes, and so that I am perfecting. It is very fulfilling to pray with others although you do not know them. In God’s name.

  23. This is so much conformation, it blows my mind. I’ve always struggled with the fear of praying in front of others. But recently God’s been pushing me more and more outside my comfort zone and honestly i hate it at times.. as I’m sure everyone does haha. I’ve been struggling with it more than ever lately and i couldn’t help but to think that i don’t belong in the Christian world or in the Kingdom. I was actually beginning to think the only place i truly belong was in hell. (Drastic, i know. But it’s really been messing with me) when I’ve asked God to help, He told me almost exactly what you’ve written! Just when I was starting to believe the lies of the enemy, i found this blog. I don’t even remember how i found this post, but it was definitely the guidance of the Spirit :)

  24. This is amazing, I really thought that I was the only one in the entire world who felt this way, and didn’t even expect to find anything on the internet when I searched the topic! Thank you for your ideas Natasha, and for your honesty about your own challenges. I like the idea of praying aloud to myself first to get used to hearing my own voice. Unfortunately this fear has held me back my whole life and leads to times of awkward silence in groups, so then I just naturally want to avoid them, like bible study and camps etc. I do wish there was more understanding about this though, sometimes it’s a surprising concept for others. For some of us words just don’t seem to flow, but the feeling is there. I will work on it with God’s help!

  25. Thanks for your ideas natasha.I am surprised I thought I was the only one with fear of praying out loud.I Will work on it and I think we should also face our fear

  26. any advice for someone that blanks out when they pray out loud????

    i can pray smoothly when i do it silently, but when i do it out loud i forget half of what i was planning to say, even when im alone…….its frustrating……..i dont even pray in front of my husband cuz im so embarrassed :(

  27. This site has been such a blessing to me. Not only to read the wonderful suggestions Natasha made, but to hear the testimonies of others, it is so encouraging. I am praying (literally aloud) for all of us who struggle with this. I am praying that we walk in the acceptance of Christ and not the acceptance of others!

  28. Marissa Harris says:

    I hope this helps me because I have always had the fear of playing aloud and we are starting a new group at school called FCA (fellowship of Christian athletes) and they asked me to be a leader. It is so pathetic I was thinking about not doing it so I wouldn’t have to pray aloud. I’m not a poetic prayer either so I’m glad I’m the only one. I just have to remember to speak from the heart.

  29. Thanks. I’ve been intimidated when asked to lead a group in prayer such as opening a church meeting or closing one. I feel like I never know what to say and I fumble all over my words. Your tips are very helpful. Thank you. God bless you

  30. Wow, its kind of wonderful that were all in this together and were not alone. Let’s all pray for each other to become mighty prayer warriors!!! To God be the Glory!!!

  31. Thank you for all this information. I am a lay preacher in the Methodist Church in the UK and lead a Bible study in which, at this time, we are discussing prayer. This week we are discussing praying with others and I wondered if there was any website which would help us to get to grips with this – not really believing that there would be. How wrong could I be?

    Although I lead worship, I write all my prayers out and seem quite confident – don’t believe that! I’m only confident because the words are there in front of me. I’m quite happy to lead our Bible study and open with prayer – but if I’m in a crowd of people, (even those I know) I never, well, almost never, open my mouth. I feel, like so many others it seems, that my prayers aren’t good enough. I forget that I’m praying to God – not the rest of the group. Reading your blog has made me feel braver, thank you all. God bless.

  32. I must say I was pleasantly surprise just knowing that I am not the only one experiencing these anxiety when coming to praying out loud. I thank each and everyone for your tips in getting around this issue and know that I will be praying for you all. Our God is bigger than any problem and we were not born with a sprit of fear. I keep telling myself this but yet I get nervous. I am now put on the cooperate prayer group in my church where you are randomly pick to pray. Thank God we are aware of it a month in advance which gives me the time to practice my praying aloud. It is still a work in progress and I can hear my voice quiver. My prayer is constantly for that spirit of boldness because I know our God is able. I pray that I can reach to that place where I can just go up on that alter and pray like I am simply having a conversation with my Maker, because in reality, that is exactly what it really is. God bless

Speak Your Mind