For the record, I used to be someone that was okay with unspoken prayers, but with my curse of always thinking, and breaking things down in my head I later discovered the serious dangers behind them...
At face value, they seem like a good idea, it's a way to get your problems into prayer without giving away some privacy or information certain people within the group or church don't need to know.
But how exactly are they helpful?
They are not.
- It's a pointless request.
The unspoken prayer request is ultimately a waste of time. When you reach out saying "I have an unspoken prayer" and the pastor responds back with "The Lord has heard." while this is true, what is the point of asking for help when you have already asked for help? Take into consideration a short person who can't reach the top shelf. They walk up to you and say "Can you help me?" Your response will be "Sure, what do you need help with?" Its pretty obvious they need help with something, but how can you help outside of moral support without knowing exactly what they need?
- It encourages shame.
Most of the unspoken prayers are so private and done out of shame that the person has some sort of unmentioned struggle they want help with but they fear people will judge them if they speak up.
- It brings judgment.
When we speak about an unspoken prayer, while there may be some good intentions, the people who hear this are already concocting some idea in their head of what you're struggling with. Most likely it is all based on their own personal struggles or even from what they have heard in rumors or gossip. Romans 14:13
- Robs others of loving you like Jesus.
One thing we need to realize is Jesus, in character and nature, is identical to the Father. Jesus knows the deepest depth of our heart, our darkest secrets, and most shameful sins. But this does not stop Him from loving, caring, and being there for us. Now while it is possible for the Christian (with the discernment, and guidance from the Holy Spirit) to know the heart of man (Acts 5:1-11), let's take under consideration that not everybody is "tapped in" to the Spirit of God at this level. You're carrying the shame of some unspeakable sin and you're not sure how to deal with it. Chances are there is someone else in the church that has this same struggle or at least did at one point in their life. By not opening up, you are hindering just how much love a brother/sister in Christ can give you. When you confess your sins we will know just how godly a person is. The person who is acting as Jesus would will stay to help you through the burden. James 5:15.
Now one last note... I would strongly encourage everyone reading this to stop promoting unspoken prayers, but at the same time as stated above, it may not be something everybody needs to hear. Instead of asking for an "unspoken request", pull some trusted brothers and sisters to the side, perhaps your inner circle or the head of your church, open up to them with your burdens so that they can understand what your going through and help you along this journey of redemption and healing.