The Surprising Truth about Unspoken Prayer Requests 1

The Surprising Truth about Unspoken Prayer Requests

Unspoken prayer requests. We’ve all heard of them and maybe we’ve even mentioned “unspoken” when asked if anyone has any requests they’d like prayer for. But what exactly is an unspoken request and is it Biblical? Today, we will look at both sides of the unspoken prayer request so you can determine for yourself whether it is Biblical or not.

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As I study this topic of unspoken prayer requests, I am unable to find it directly supported in the Bible. Does this surprise you? I mentioned this in my Bible Study group on Facebook and received some comments that supported the opposite side.

So, based on that, I’m now looking at both sides of this topic to see, not what man says, but what the Bible says, about this type of prayer request. At the end of this study, you and I will know whether unspoken prayer requests are fully supported by God or not.

Let’s begin!

First of all, as believers, we have a great privilege in prayer, baring our hearts before Almighty God and being heard by Him. We can tell Him anything that is on our hearts and minds.

I could easily write a post that is based on my thoughts and convictions and attempt to persuade you to think as I think. But that’s not what I’m here to do. It is my desire to seek God’s Word for His answers to our questions.

So, we will look at several verses to keep them in context with each other. It is too easy to make a case on a single verse and possibly be out of will with the Word as a whole.

Need help with your private prayers? Use these Powerful Bible Verses as You Pray the ACTS Prayer Model. Your prayer time will rise a notch or two!

The Case for Unspoken Prayer

Does the Bible mention “unspoken prayer requests” or “unspoken prayer?” Do a quick search in the online Blue Letter Bible and you will find that those words are not mentioned in the Bible. So what does the Bible say about this?

[all bold emphasis on Bible verses are mine]

1 Samuel 1:13, Now Hannah, she spake in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard: therefore Eli thought she had been drunken.

Psalm 44:21, Shall not God search this out? for he knoweth the secrets of the heart.

Psalm 94:11 speaks to the vanity of man but the opposite is true as well, The LORD knoweth the thoughts of man, that they are vanity.

Matthew 6:8, Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.

Matthew 6:32, (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.

God Searches Our Hearts

We love that God knows us, inside out, and hears our secret cries. Jesus instructs us in the Lord’s prayer to go into our closet and pray there privately.

Romans 8:27, And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

~ God knows us, He sees our heart and hears our cry. ~

There are times when we bare our heart and soul before the Lord in our own prayer closets and then there are times when we need the support of our brethren to pray for us and with us. We may not be able to put our request into words for various reasons:

  • they are too private
  • the need to be careful because of a potentially dangerous situation
  • unable to find the words to explain

And yet, according to these Bible verses above, God knows. He sees our heart and He will answer.

The Case for Spoken Prayer Requests

The Bible mentions verbal prayer in relation to “hear” quite often. For example, in 1 Kings 8:45 Then hear thou in heaven their prayer and their supplication, and maintain their cause. [remember that bold emphasis is mine]

And, in 2 Kings 20:5, …I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears: behold, I will heal thee: …

Job 22:27, Thou shalt make thy prayer unto him, and he shall hear thee…

Daniel 9:21, Yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, …

The Old Testament is full of Bible verses that mention “spoken” prayer as “heard” prayers in heaven.

New Testament Verses on Spoken Prayer

Matthew 21:22, And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.

Luke 1:13, … Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard;...

Acts 10:31, And said, Cornelius, thy prayer is heard, and thine alms are had in remembrance in the sight of God.

Philippians 4:6, Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

Paul is teaching us that we are to verbally make our requests known to God. When we are praying for each other, we can give general details of our request so we can pray for each other.

James 5:16, Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

Discussing These Bible Verses

We could continue finding more Bible verses supporting spoken prayer but let’s look at what we have already.

Both Matthew and Luke recorded Jesus’ words when He said, And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. Luke 11:9

Then James said that we have not because we ask amiss. James 4:3, Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.

I would interpret that we are to ask according to God’s will and be specific in our asking. Do you agree?

Matthew 6:7, Jesus taught, But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.

The Pharisees loved to be seen and heard for their wordy prayers. They loved the attention they got from it. But that’s not you and I. We do not seek attention when we are praying for ourselves or for others.

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When we pray, we pray as the Spirit leads us. He inspires us to pray according to what He wants us to pray. He knows the situation, whether spoken or not and will lead our prayers. There have been many times when I think I am going to pray in one direction but the Spirit leads me to pray for something else entirely.

There are also times when I am praying with the understanding, knowing what I am praying for, that I am able to pray bold words that are Biblically sound. And then, there are times when I do not know what to pray, my understanding is null and my attempts to pray seem feeble. A little further on are some tips for praying for unspoken requests.

The Hidden Dangers of Unspoken Prayer Requests

Galatians 6:2, Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. How do we pray for each other if we don’t know what to pray for?

Yet, there are some dangers of unspoken prayer requests, actually, even with spoken requests.

Unspoken Prayer Requests

Spoken Prayer Requests

  1. When the facts are not known, assumptions can take place and this can lead to gossip.
  2. The requester desires not to share intimate details of the need. Possibly he or she is not comfortable in the group to share such details. This could also be a trust level with the group members.
  3. By not sharing the details or even the generalities, others cannot “agree” with you in prayer as they do not know what they are agreeing to. Is the request based on selfishness or on the will of God?
  1. Sharing too much detail in prayer groups can potentially lead to gossip.
  2. Jesus said to “ask.” Sharing in confidence with your prayer group allows others to “ask” the Lord on your behalf for answers to your need.
  3. Verbalizing your request to others will allow them to know if your request is one they can agree to or not. In other words, is the request in the will of God or not? If it isn’t, then someone can ask them further questions to help direct their prayer needs.

While we all expect some level of privacy, when sharing prayer requests with brethren, we need to exercise wisdom in how much to share.

Tips to Sharing Prayer Requests

While there is always the potential for gossip, in both shared and unspoken prayer requests, we must use wisdom in sharing details.

Here are some basic tips in sharing your prayer requests:

  • Know the circle of people you are sharing with. Are you confident that they will hold your request in the strictest of confidence?
  • If you are new to the group or church and need prayer, ask the Lord whom you may confide in. Two or three women will suffice as a prayer group.
  • Be specific but not full of detail. Jesus said to the blind man, What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee? And he said, Lord, that I may receive my sight. Luke 18:41. He was brief and to the point.
  • If your request is extremely personal or not meant for mixed company, phrase the request in such a way that indicates you are seeking God’s will for a sensitive issue.
  • Sometimes a prayer request could be for an issue that may concern a dangerous situation. Wisdom to remain as an unspoken request may be the best choice.

~ Share brief, concise prayer requests. ~

God’s Sense of Humour

Let me tell you a story about the importance of praying with specifics. I had always wanted to live near the water, whether it was the ocean, a lake or even a river. I love the water. So, I asked the Lord for a home near the water. That’s all I said to Him, was “near the water.”

We bought a house in town one winter and moved in January. There was a lot of snow that year so we couldn’t see what the yard was like.

In the spring when the snow melted, on the outside of our fence on town property, was this small stream. Or maybe it’s a creek. Anyway, it is small. When I looked at the water, I began to laugh as I remembered my prayer to have a home near the water.

God answered my prayer just as I prayed! Such an awesome God! However, next time I will be more specific, like indicating a lake or the ocean. I love God’s sense of humour!

Tips for Supporting Your Friends’ Unspoken Prayer Requests

If you are praying for someone’s unspoken request, you can pray in generalities. Here are two verses that support general prayers.

1 Timothy 2:1-2, I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;

Philippians 4:6, Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

Pray for

  • peace, hope, and courage to abound unto her. Pray that she will sense His presence and know that she is not alone, that God is with her at all times.
  • faith to arise and that her faith would grow strong as she draws closer to God during this trial.
  • a non-judgmental support group to come around her and support her in physical needs and spiritual needs.
  • that she will develop discernment in this area of her life. That she will know God’s will concerning when/if she should reveal the details.
  • her release from spiritual bondage. Pray that she will be full of the Spirit and will move in His will.
  • Jehovah-Jireh to provide for her needs and to give her the desires of her heart as they line up with His Word.

~ Pray the Word of God into her life! ~

You might find this helpful as you pray for your friends. Read this by Rebecca Barlow Jordan: A Prayer for Unspoken Prayer Requests over at

That’s a Wrap

So, based on this study, we see the Bible supports both spoken, specific requests and unspoken requests as well. The thing to keep in mind is the person’s life, are they living a sin unto death? Pray for discernment as you pray for unspoken requests.

I would like to summarize that we should offer brief, concise, spoken prayer requests. When a request cannot be verbalized, then we are to use discernment in praying. We do not know the hearts and minds of others but we know Who does and can follow His leading in our prayers.

While some may say that believers shouldn’t offer unspoken prayer requests at all, that it can be dangerous to the Church, keep in mind what we learned here today. Use discernment and let Holy Spirit lead you.

So, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Please let me know what you think!

The Surprising Truth about Unspoken Prayer Requests 2

11 thoughts on “The Surprising Truth about Unspoken Prayer Requests

  1. Cheriedominguez

    I think you made a good case. The Bible does always have our answer. When you mentioned how Eli asked G-d to grant Hannah’s requires without knowing her prayer I was satisfied. I believe G-d never grants us a stone when we ask for bread. When I pray for others unspoken or spoken requests I try to always ask G-d to help them according to HIS will. Our prayer closets are very important and I think we all need to do more deligent praying.
    I thought you might get stuck searching for unspoken prayers like looking for the law of gravity, we know G-d invented it, but it’s not listed. Thanks for your blog.

    • Cindy

      Thank you, Cherie, for your thoughts about unspoken prayer requests. It’s an eye-opener, right? I believe He delights in spoken, specific requests but I also know He knows our hearts and sees the unspoken requests as well. I’m glad you visited today! Thanks!

  2. When we don’t have the words to express our situation, there is a Biblical answer: “Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” (Romans 8:26 NKJV). Being a Pentecostal, I pray in my Heavenly language, and the Holy Spirit prays for, and through me. I know I have prayed exactly what needs to be prayed, because the third person of the Godhead, has done the praying.

  3. Bonnie Ferguson

    Thank you for your understanding and your ability to share with others.
    I have another reason for an unspoken prayer request to be asked for prayer. I have a friend whose husband is very against sharing anything to do with their lives, or the lives of their grown children. In one prayer group meeting, she shared her concerns about her married daughter choosing to go on a lone trip to several states, visiting friends and relatives. God took care of my friend! When I wrote out the requests, to send out to our texting list of prayer warriors, I thought I had gotten all the requests I had written down. I had included “unspoken requests” that one of the other women had mentioned when she was praying. The next day, my friend texted me privately, and thanked me for not including her request for her daughter, because her husband would have gotten upset if one of the women had mentioned it to him. I texted back to her that it was all God! I thought (and had intended) that I had included ALL of the requests. I said God had included her in the list, by having me add the “unspoken requests”! God is BIG!
    Thank you for your teachings! I will be back.

    • Cindy

      Hello, Bonnie, I’m so glad that you have a sensitive spirit to hearing the voice of God! There are times when requests should be spoken and times when we let God hear our heart and know our thoughts. I’m so glad that He does! Thank you so much for commenting, I appreciate reading your testimony of God’s goodness!
      Blessings, Cindy

  4. Ellen

    I believe that if a request is made known and heard by God, whether on our heart or in our thoughts, once we open up to Him (invite Him in to the situation) it is not unspoken; therefore, how can one ask of God without asking. It’s matters not how sensitive the matter because Father God (the Holy Spirit & Jesus) is trustworthy. The wisdom and discernment needed is when sharing and/or confiding in others that violate the sensitivity of issues and are only gathering info to gossip about later. Is it possible to ask God something without being heard…meaning not opening up to Him. Even Hanna’s prayer (supplication) was heard by God but to man it appeared how lips were only moving with no audible or understandable speech. However, she did ask. We should never have to approach God with uncertainty of His understanding (He’s not incompetent) or in fear of being condemned/wrongfully judged and criticized when praying and asking earnestly according to the will of God. Amen!

  5. I enjoyed reading the article. I saw this mentioned above in the article,Cindy: (pasting your words) By not sharing the details or even the generalities, others cannot “agree” with you in prayer as they do not know what they are agreeing to. Is the request based on sin? 1 John 5:16-17 talks about the person who is sinning a sin that leads to death and not to pray for that person. (end of pasting from article)

    So my comment would be that this is not someone coming to someone else with a prayer request (unspoken or not) it is someone seeing a brother sin…. and John said he was not saying he should pray for that one… “a sin unto death” which may very well be the unpardonable sin. See Mark 3: 28 Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme: 29 But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation.
    In those verses “if any man “sees” his brother sin a sin…. he shall ask, and he shall give him “life” for them that sin not unto death.

    1 John 5:16 If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it.
    17 All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death.

    But it is seeing our brethren sin a sin… nothing to do with prayers in requests, as far as I understand it. Without seeing a brethren sin a sin but asking for prayer request, we have no reason as it read in the article “not to”.
    We probably wouldn’t have seen any sin.
    Something for me to prayerfully think upon.

    • Hey, April, thanks so much for your comment and for pointing out the scripture reference used for that point I was making. After reading your comment and reviewing the text, I have removed that scripture reference as it is not the correct reference. Somehow I carelessly included an incorrect reference that does not support the point I was making.

      Your feedback based on that scripture is correct and would be good for another blog sometime.

      Thanks again for correcting my error. Much appreciated!

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