As a theology and Bible major, I have been studying the Old Testament and learning about the connections between the Old and New Testament. Recently, I have been studying Biblical prayers and seeing how God answered them.
What directions do Christians face when they pray? Unlike other religions, Christians do not face a certain way when they pray. They can pray facing any direction since God is omnipresent. While Christians do not pray in a physical direction, they do pray in a spiritual direction.
Although Christians do not pray facing a certain direction they do pray in a certain spiritual direction. I found three Biblical examples to show how people prayed to God in a certain direction.
3 Biblical Examples of Praying in a Certain Direction
In each one of these Bible stories, God answered the prayers of His people. I hope you are encouraged as you read about mighty men of God seeking after Him, even in the face of trials and persecution.
1. Daniel in the Lion’s Den
Daniel was a man of prayer who sought after the Lord. During this time, King Darius’ had ordered a decree that any person who prayed or bowed to any other king would be thrown into the lion’s den. What did Daniel do after he heard this?
In Daniel 6:10 says, “when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to this upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before.” Not long after, the king’s officials found out Daniel was praying to another king they went and told King Darius.
In verse 19 it says, “So the king gave the order, and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lions’ den. The king said to Daniel, ‘May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!'” Darius asked God to save Daniel.
In the morning, verse 23 says, “…And when Daniel was lifted from the den, no wound was found on him, because he had trusted in his God.”
Daniel not only prayed to God throughout his life, he still trusted God even in a lion’s den. He knew God would be with Him, even if he died in the lion’s den. He trusted God in the face of lions.
What We Learn
King Darius asked God to save Daniel. God heard and He did spare Daniel from being ripped apart by hungry lions. This is a testimony to how God is faithful to His people.
We can learn to pray to God even when we are facing persecution. God is bigger than hungry lions & kings decrees. He is more powerful. He loves His people and desires that we be like Daniel and continually seek and pray to Him.
2. Jabez’s Cry for Freedom
Jabez was a man who was followed by distress and sorrow most of his life. According to 1 Chronicles 4:9, “Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother had named him Jabez, saying, “I gave birth to him in pain.’”
His name, in Hebrew, meant pain or sorrow. From his birth, sorrow followed Jabez. 1 Chronicle 4:10, reads, “Jabez cried out to the God of Israel,’Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.’ And God granted his request.”
Jabez prayed a short prayer. Although the pray was short, he asked many things from God: He wanted God to bless him, grow his territory, His hand to be with him, and to be free from the pain. God heard this prayer and did as Jabez asked.
What We Learn
We can be totally honest with God when we pray. He already knows our pains and struggles. He knew Jabez was followed with distress because of the name his mother gave him. He freed Jabez from that burden after he prayed to Him.
Also, we can pray big prayers. We can pray with confidence knowing God hears us and we can ask greatly of Him. Think of the biggest obstacle in your life of someone you know and ask God for a miracle in that area. Let’s not underestimate how powerful God is and pray big prayers!
3. Peter’s Imprisonment
While King Herod was ruling, he began persecuting people in the church. James was made a martyr under his rule. Acts 12 & 14 say, “When he saw that this met with approval among the Jews, he proceeded to seize Peter also…Herod intended to bring him out for public trial after the Passover.”
Peter was imprisoned for being a Christian and spreading the gospel. Verse 5 goes on to say, “So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.” The church did not let Peter’s circumstance of being in prison keep them from praying. In the face of persecution, they prayed for their brother in Christ.
In the middle of the night, an angel came to Peter and walked him out of the prison. The angel led him through the iron gate of the city and eventually left him. Peter first believed he was having a vision, but then he realized in verse 11, “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.”
God heard the prayers of the people from the church. He heard their cries to free Peter. God answered their prayer and delivered Peter from prison!
What We Learn
From this story, we learn we can pray during hard times. We can pray when our brother or sister in Christ is being persecuted. God will still hear our prayers. God does not turn his back on us. He was with Peter before he was in prison, during his imprisonment, and afterward. God never leaves us.
We do not have to let circumstances determine if we pray or not. God wants us to pray at all times. We can trust God and know He will work all things out for good.
From these three stories, we can see how people in the Bible prayed to God in a certain direction.
- King Darius asked God for protection for Daniel
- Jabez prayed for freedom
- Peter’s church prayed for freedom from prison
We can see how God answered each one of these prayers. There is no formula as far as what direction you pray. You can pray for whatever situation you are in or for a family member who needs to know Jesus, or for the persecuted church overseas. Pray what is pressing on your heart and make your request know to God.
God knows you, so you can pray honestly and openly to Him. He desire is for you to be in relationship with Him and to pray to Him with boldness and faith. If He doesn’t answer your prayer in the way you were hoping, that doesn’t mean He isn’t with you; it means that He knows best and we don’t.
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