If you have been to the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, you will be able to connect with today’s post. As you stand there, you can detect a kind of murmuring–a whispering of prayer.
The early Christians usually prayed like that—in sotto voce—an undertone that engaged their vocal cords as well as their minds. Bunge writes about this on pages 123-126. He believes that this may account for why biblical prayers and those from Christian antiquity often include phrases like, “hear my supplication.”
Interestingly, Bunge notes that many of the early desert fathers and mothers would not speak words to those who came to them for advice, but they would allow inquirers to hear them pray. These early Christians apparently believed that the greatest thing they could reveal to someone else was how to pray.
Audible prayer also helps us deal with distractions. The mind can wander, but the mouth usually stays on track. If you find yourself “going all over the place” when you practice mental prayer, try adding a low whisper or voice and see if that helps.
Audible prayer also makes prayer seem more like a conversation, which it actually is. When we talk with other people, we can actually hear ourselves and that helps us to frame and express our thoughts. Why should it be less in prayer?