Our days are busy. We have work, school, and other daily responsibilities that demand our attention. We often forget to even talk to God until the day is over. He can easily become an afterthought in our day to day life, and we naturally have the tendency to place Him on the back-burner. If we call ourselves Christians, God shouldn’t be a mere afterthought; He should be the utmost center of our lives. We should long to grow in deeper fellowship and intimacy with Him every day. Prayer is one way we communicate with God.
How do Christians pray? The Bible tells us to pray without ceasing, so prayer should be a part of a Christian’s everyday life. Prayer is simply how Christians talk to God. How Christians pray isn’t limited: Christians can pray the Scriptures, read already written prayers, journal their prayers, or pray in their hearts, or another way they communicate with God.
The Bible is filled with stories of people seeing the Lord move in miraculous ways through prayer, and we can learn from their prayers for our own prayer lives. Here are a few Biblical examples of prayer that we see throughout Scripture.
Biblical Examples of Prayer
Before we look at stories of answered prayers, let’s see how Jesus tells us to pray in the Lord’s prayer.
The Lord’s Prayer
Before Jesus gave His disciples the Lord’s prayer, He told them they should not pray like the pagans.
But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.Matthew 6:6-8
Jesus tells us that God sees our prayers done secretly. He goes on to say:
“This, then, is how you should pray:
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.” – Matthew 6:9-13
The Lord’s prayer is an example of how we should pray. The Message translation puts it this way:
Our Father in heaven,
Reveal who you are.
Set the world right;
Do what’s best—
as above, so below.
Keep us alive with three square meals.
Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others.
Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil.
You’re in charge!
You can do anything you want!
You’re ablaze in beauty!
Yes. Yes. Yes.” – Matthew 6:9-13
If you’re stuck on what to pray, you can always pray the Lord’s prayer. It’s a powerful tool that we can use in our prayer lives!
Hannah’s Prayer for a Son
The story of Hannah praying for a son is found in 1 Samuel chapter 1. Hannah was praying in anguish because she was old in age, but had yet to conceive a child.
During her prayer outside the temple, she made a vow, saying, “Lord Almighty, if you will only look on your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.”
It goes on to say “As she kept on praying to the Lord, Eli observed her mouth. Hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard. Eli thought she was drunk and said to her, “How long are you going to stay drunk? Put away your wine” (11-14).
Hannah proceeded to tell Eli she was not drunk but distressed and crying out to the Lord for a son in grief. Eli told her, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him” (17).
Her prayer was answered in verse 20, “So in the course of time Hannah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, saying, “Because I asked the Lord for him.”
Hannah kept her word to the Lord and when Samuel was three, she brought him to Eli saying, “Pardon me, my lord. As surely as you live, I am the woman who stood here beside you praying to the Lord. I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life, he will be given over to the Lord. And he worshiped the Lord there.”
God heard Hannah’s cry for a son and answered her prayer. Hannah gave her son to Eli to serve in the house of the Lord. She did this because when she was praying for a son, she told God her son would be his servant and serve the Lord his whole life.
Hannah was heard by God.
Prayer from the Church While Peter Is Imprisoned
In the book of Acts, King Herod was arresting people in the church and persecuting them. Herod had killed James and proceeded to take Peter captive. Acts 12:4-7 says, “After arresting him, he put him in prison, handing him over to be guarded by four squads of four soldiers each. Herod intended to bring him out for public trial after the Passover.”
So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.
The night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries stood guard at the entrance. Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him up. “Quick, get up!” he said, and the chains fell off of Peter’s wrists.
The story goes on to say that the Angel led Peter out of the prison, past the guards, and to the gate of the city. The gate opened and they went inside. While Peter was walking the streets, the angel disappeared which resulted in Peter thinking he was dreaming.
Verse 11 tells us “Then Peter came to himself and said, “Now I know without a doubt that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from Herod’s clutches and from everything the Jewish people were hoping would happen.'”
One of the reasons why Herod captured Peter was because the Jewish people were for the execution of James, but the church prayed for Peter and their prayers were heard by God. The church did not let the circumstances stop them from praying. They prayed while Peter was in prison and he was rescued from prison by an angel.
From this story, we learn that we can trust God, even in the midst of circumstances that seem hopeless. We can cry out to God as the church did.
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.Ephesians 6:18
Jesus’ Prayer for God’s Will Before Crucifixion
After Jesus has the Last Supper with His disciples, they went to the Mount of Olives.
Luke 22:41 says “He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, ‘Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.'”
Jesus knew his death was coming. The “cup” in this Scripture refers to the suffering that He was going to endure on the cross. This shows Jesus’ wrestling with his flesh, because His flesh wanted to avoid pain and suffering. In the end, Jesus asks that not His, but His Father’s will would be done. The cup couldn’t be taken away because Jesus had to atone for our sins on the cross so that we could have eternal life with Him.
“An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.Luke 22:42-44
Jesus prayed more because he was in deep anguish. He was experiencing a battle within Himself; His flesh wanted to avoid the suffering, but His heart knew He had to be the sacrifice. His distress was so intense he sweat literal drops of blood, which only happens when a person is under extraordinary amounts of pressure and stress. Jesus did not let the flesh win, but continued to pray in the midst of despair. In the end, sacrificed his life for us.
Because of His sacrifice on the cross, Jesus knows what pain and suffering is. Drops of blood ran down his face while he cried out to God. He is able to empathize with our pain and what it is like to wrestle with our flesh. When we’re in the midst of heartbreak and despair, we can find comfort in knowing that Jesus experienced the same emotions and is able to empathize with us.
Just as Jesus did in the Garden of Olives, we can pray and cry out to God in the midst of agony and stress. God longs for us to cry out to Him during our time of grief as Jesus did in the garden. He will be our comfort in the midst of it all.
Habakkuk’s Prayer of Rejoicing
Habakkuk is given a prophecy in Habakkuk 3:1-16. He responds to this prophesy while a prayer of rejoicing,
“Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.
The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
he enables me to tread on the heights” (17-19).
You can use this prayer of praise to say during your own prayer time.
Daniel’s Prayer of Confession
Daniel cries out a prayer of confession to God in Daniel 9. The reason for his prayer is that Israel was in captivity. Daniel knew that Israel’s time of captivity was nearing its end. He felt that it was not enough to know that God was going to take them out of captivity, he needed to repent for the sins of himself and the sins of the people.
“So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes” (4).
Daniel prayed and fasted, he pleaded with God.
Part of his prayer said, “Give ear, our God, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears your Name. We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy. Lord, listen! Lord, forgive! Lord, hear and act! For your sake, my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name” (18-19).
Daniel shows us that we can pray to God with our whole hearts. There is no need to hide anything while we pray. We can repent with sorrow and ask God to forgive us.
In the prayer, Daniel says that we make the request for forgiveness, because of God’s mercy, not because of our own righteousness.
We are sinners but Christ can forgive us. Psalm 103:2 says, ” He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west.” God does not forsake us in when we sin. He is waiting for us to repent so he may show us mercy. Daniel’s prayer shows us how we can pray for repentance and be free from sin.
God has united you with Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made him to be wisdom itself. Christ made us right with God; he made us pure and holy, and he freed us from sin.1 Corinthians 1:30
David’s Mourning & Prayer of Confession
David had sinned against God by sleeping with Bathsheba and impregnating her. She was married to Uriah when this happened, so David commanded for Uriah to be placed in the most dangerous part of the army. He died while on the front-lines and after Bathsheba mourned his death, she married King David.
Psalms 51 says,
“For the director of music. A psalm of David. When the prophet Nathan came to him after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba.
Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions.
Wash away all my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin.
For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is always before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight;” (1-4).
He goes on to say,
“Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me” (10-12).
David shows through Psalms 51 the deep regret he has over his sin. He asks God to make his heart pure. Through this Psalm, we learn how to pray when we have sinned. For when we sin, we are sinning against God and need to seek forgiveness.
Your Guide to Prayer
While there is no “perfect” prayer or a “perfect guide” to prayer, I have 6 tips to help you in your prayer life to help you be more intentional about praying.
1. Decide on a Location & Time
Pick a time to pray and stick to it. By making it a habit to pray at the same time, you’re practicing self discipline and you will be less likely to get “too busy” or forget to pray. Make it a part of your daily routine. For example, wake up fifteen minutes early and use that time to pray.
You should also pick a place. Again, by sticking to the same place it helps you to not forget to pray and it helps you to incorporate praying into your day.
Places & times ideas:
- Pray during the drive to work
- Get up 15 minutes early every day & pray
- Pray during your lunch break
- Pray before going to bed
Whatever time or place you decide, hold yourself to it. Keep in mind, praying is not a chore. Praying is a blessing, and we have the honor of speaking to God every single day.
Side note: If you do this, you’re not limited to only praying to the time and place you choose. You have free reign to pray anywhere and any time you want, but setting apart a time and a place helps develop a habit of self discipline.
Listening is one part of our prayers that we often forget. We simply pray and say, “amen” and carry on with our days. While God is always listening to us and our prayers, He is a relational God, so He longs to speak in response to us. Are you listening?
Take time to simply be silent. Pause your worship music and just listen in the stillness.
You can start by simply setting a phone alarm for five minutes and work your way to longer periods of time. The next day set your timer for six-minute, and the next seven, and so on.
While listening can hard, the more we practice the easier it will be and the more clearly we’ll be able to hear what He is speaking to us. It takes time and practice, but we can train our brains to calm down and stop thinking about the cares of the world to focus on God in stillness.
3. Give Praise
Often times, we tend to just ramble off our prayer requests and call it good. We should keep in mind that the Lord’s prayer starts off saying, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.”
It begins with honoring God and then goes on to ask for his Kingdom to come to earth before it asks for our daily bread.
Start off your prayers by praising the name of God. Tell Him what he means to you and how you love Him. Speak from your heart! God deserves all the praise and we can give Him praise in our prayers.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.Philippians 4:6-7
4. Pray Scripture
The Bible is the word of God. We can pray Scriptures knowing that we are speaking the word of God back to Him in an act of worship.
Praying Scripture is powerful and we can pray it during any season of our life. We can pray scripture when we are on the mountain top and when we are in the valley. Proclaim what God says over your life!
You can also pray scripture when you are unsure of what to pray.
5. Pray Big
By “pray big” I mean use your imagination while praying and pray the biggest prayer you can possibly dream up. God is far greater than our minds know. He can do far greater things than our minds can even understand.
Pray big prayers and have faith. Have faith that God can heal your family member, save a friend, or end human trafficking.
Don’t be afraid to pray big! Fear is not from God. As Christians, we have the spirit of God in use. We speak with authority over the things from the devil through Jesus. The devil has lost the battle because Jesus defeated him when he died on the cross. We can pray big prayers with confidence.
Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.Hebrews 4:16
6. Keep Praying
Don’t stop praying because you feel too busy or don’t want to make time for it. The devil wants us to be disconnected from God. Prayer is how we are able to connect with God. We need to be diligent to continue praying.
Pray in hard times. Pray on the mountain top. Pray when you are sick. Pray when you overwhelmed. Keep praying. Keep praising God.
You can pray wherever you are. You could be in a crowd of people or at work and be praying to God in your heart. God can hear what you are praying in your heart, it does not have to out loud.
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
20 Scriptures About Prayer
These 20 Scriptures on prayers for the morning and evening will encourage you and help you to rely on God. I hope that you will incorporate them into your daily prayer time.
10 Prayers for the Morning
“Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life.” Psalms 143:8
“Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.” Psalm 25:5
“Lord, be gracious to us; we long for you. Be our strength every morning, our salvation in time of distress.” Isaiah 33:2
“In the morning, O Lord, I will direct my song and my prayer unto You and will look up.” Psalm 5:3
“Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” Ephesians 6:11
“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psalm 73:26
“Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.” Psalms 90:14
“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7
“This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24
“God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at the break of day.” Psalms 46:5
10 Prayers for Bedtime
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians 4:6-8
“My shield is with God, who saves the upright in heart.” Psalm 7:10
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-29
“But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head. I cried aloud to the Lord, and he answered me from his holy hill. Selah. I lay down and slept; I woke again, for the Lord sustained me.” Psalm 3:3-5
“The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty One who will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you by His love; He will exult over you with loud singing.” Zephaniah 3:17
“Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.” Psalm 139: 7-12
“And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls on the Name of the Lord shall be saved.” Joel 2:32
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Revelation 21:4
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
1 Thessalonians 5:18
“The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble.” Nahum 1:7
Prayer is simply a two-way conversation between you and God.Billy Graham