A fellow preacher and I once had an interesting conversation concerning people praying aloud and Satan being able to listen in on those prayers. The question we kicked around was: Is it smarter to pray silently so that Satan and his fellow fallen angels (demons) won’t be able to hear our requests and, thus, thwart them?
Upon first impression, the answer seems to be that, yes, we should pray silently. I mean, after all, Satan and the other fallen angels can hear, can’t they? And the sole purpose of their existence is to mess up what God is trying to do, right? So why give them advance notice of what we are asking God for in prayer? Isn’t that kind of like an army publicly announcing its battle plans to an enemy army?
But to find our answer my preacher friend and I turned to the Bible, and we quickly realized that we just couldn’t make a scriptural case for always praying silently. The simple truth is that the Bible gives us various instances of people praying aloud. Solomon prayed aloud in his great prayer of dedication for the Jewish temple (2 Chronicles 6:12-42). Elijah’s prayer on Mount Carmel seems to have been aloud (1 Kings 18:36-39). Those believers who met in that upper room following Christ’s ascension prayed aloud (Acts 1:24-25), as did Paul and Silas when they were in prison (Acts 16:25). Paul also prayed aloud when he met with the elders of Ephesus (Acts 20:36).
Now, it is certainly true that Jesus instructed His followers to go into a room and shut the door when they prayed (Matthew 6:5-6). However, His purpose in saying that was to get them to avoid the hypocritical way of publicly praying “for show” that was so common among the Pharisees. Basically, what He said was, “Hide yourself,” not “Shush yourself.” Actually, you can pray aloud even if you are in your room with the door closed.
So, in the end, we should understand that there is no Bible prohibition against praying aloud. Yes, Satan or some other fallen angel might be listening in, but that doesn’t mean that they can bring the prayer requests to ruination. While Daniel chapter 10 does teach that fallen angels — referred to as “the prince of the kingdom of Persia” and “the prince of the kingdom of Greece” in the chapter — can, in certain instances, delay the answers to prayers, that single chapter can’t be used to cancel out the totality of the Bible’s teaching on praying aloud.
The fact is, if God knew that praying out loud is so detrimental to our prayers, surely He would have spelled it out more clearly in the Bible. For that matter, we don’t even have a guarantee from scripture that Daniel’s prayer — the one that prompted the spiritual warfare and delayed answer — was prayed silently. Daniel could have prayed it out loud for all we know. So, if you like to talk out loud when you pray, go for it. After all, what you say in prayer is much more important than how you say it.