Why Not Talk to Yourself When You Pray?

For some, it’s a habit. For others, it’s a quirk. In prayer, it can be effective.

Posted in , Nov 18, 2021

Talk to yourself in prayer

Some people talk to themselves. Others think it’s an unhealthy habit. But judging from the ancient songwriters of the Bible, it can also be a helpful way to pray. 

A number of psalms feature prayers in which the writer talks to himself—or, more precisely, to his soul. 

The “Sons of Korah” wrote: 

Why, my soul, are you downcast?
    Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
    for I will yet praise him,
    my Savior and my God (Psalm 42:5, 11, and 43:5 NIV).

David prayed:

Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
    my hope comes from him (Psalm 62:5 NIV).

Praise the Lord, my soul;
    all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits.…
Praise the Lord, my soul (Psalm 103:1, 2, 22 NIV).

And unknown psalmists sang:

Praise the Lord, my soul (Psalm 104:1 NIV).

Return to your rest, my soul,
    for the Lord has been good to you (Psalm 116:7 NIV).

Praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord, my soul (Psalm 146:1 NIV).

Those ancient and enduring prayers display what today we might call “emotional intelligence”—the ability to recognize, identify and name what we’re feeling. Only then can we prayerfully and intentionally address our moods and emotions. 

Why not try it? Cultivate the habit of talking to your soul in prayer. Take the time to reflect on the state of your heart. (“Why, my soul, are you downcast?”) Speak encouragingly to yourself. (“Yes, my soul, find rest in God.”) Remind and reorient your heart and soul. (“Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all His benefits.”) And direct your emotional being into helpful and God-honoring directions. (“Praise the Lord, my soul.”)

With that kind of emotional and spiritual intelligence, talking to yourself will become a healthy and happy habit!

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