This country of ours is a melting pot for cultures and ideas. This can also seen in the variety of churches in every community across the nation. There are churches based on ethnicity (Korean, Philippine, Chinese), churches based on geography (African Methodist, Eastern Orthodox, Bethlehem United Church of Christ, Assyrian Church of the East), based on theology (Baptist, Episcopal, Catholic, Anglican), based on people (Lutheran, Calvinist, John Wesley’s Methodists), based on the calendar (7th Day Adventist), denominational or non-denominational, churches based on location in history (Primitive Baptist, Latter Day Saints), churches based on anti-church (Unitarian), and even one based on confusion (Christian-Science). There is a church across this great land for everybody and anybody, whether they want one or not. I came across a verse in Scripture that give me a great idea for a church if I were to start one today: based on praying out loud.
I read in 1 Corinthians 11:10 “Therefore the woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels.” I won’t address for the moment the phrase concerning women’s heads, fraught as it is with labyrinthian distractions. But it is the phrase “because of the angels” that struck me. I realized there are some things we do here on earth that are kind of like object lessons for the angels. That we humans can be used in some way to have an influence on angels! And that got me thinking. What can people do that would have a major impact on angels? Isn’t it the evidence of our closeness to God? And what would be one of the major ways we show such devotion to God? Well, since Paul told us to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17), I believe that praying is just about the hugest way the angels could witness our love of Christ. And since the angels can’t read our minds, we would have to pray out loud so that they could glorify their Heavenly King through His children on Earth.
So of course that means when we pray it is preferred to pray audibly. This shows to all the heavenly hosts, and those not quite so elevated, that we are in that glorious communication with Almighty God. There could be no mistaking that we might be just nodding off or silently contemplating the non-sacred, but that we are in a living and active dialog with the Lord of the universe. And by golly, they should pay attention! Because depending upon what His children are praying for at one point or another, these angels may be called into service by God to take action based on our request.
Audible prayer is really the best kind. Because of the angels as just mentioned or just because, if done in a church setting, others can have the benefit of adding their own voice to the spoken petition, adding more weight so to speak to bring about the desired holy result. This is why I think it is a mistake for some pastors, when seeking the congregation’s prayer requests to then finally ask who might have a silent prayer request. This deprives the rest of the congregation opportunity to support such a petitioner in any meaningful and tangible way.
So consider this, that you can be a shining light of the glory of God even to the bad angels showing them that they have not defeated you and that you continue maintain intimate communication with the awesome power of the God whom they fear, as well as encouraging the good angels who, let’s face it, considering the dismal state of the Earth today, need all the encouragement they can get out of us, and who can be cheered by the depth and charity of our vocal prayer for family and friends, even for the people we really don’t much like in the first place. You will be a shining example to them and they in turn may be your cheerleaders before God to your benefit and grace. And in the end your voice will melt into one with theirs “like the voice of a great multitude and like the sound of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, saying, ‘Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns.'” Revelation 19:6.
Amen to that!
[Scriptures taken from the New American Standard Bible © 1995]