What Is Biblical Prayer

Biblical prayer is one-way communication made available to people by the grace of God in order that people may communicate with God. Prayer is speaking to God, not God speaking to people. Never does the Bible speak of prayer as God speaking to people, even though His connection with people is part of His grace-communication process. Even though God has verbally or by means of telepathy spoken to people in the past, His primary means of speaking to people today is through His written Word (the Bible) 2 Timothy 3:16, 17. While today God primarily speaks to man through His written Word (the Bible), He encourages people to talk to Him through prayer.  Prayer is not complicated or difficult. In short, prayer is a conversation with God. Biblical prayer is not contemplation or meditation it is a direct address to Him. Prayer may be oral or mental, occasional or constant, ejaculatory or formal.

In the bible, prayer is described as a “beseeching the Lord” (Ex. 32:11); “pouring out the soul before the Lord” (1 Sam. 1:15); “praying and crying to heaven” (2 Chr. 32:20); “seeking unto God and making supplication” (Job 8:5); “drawing near to God” (Ps. 73:28); “bowing the knees” (Eph 3:14). The Bible’s first clear reference to prayer, i.e., Talking with God, is found in Genesis 3:10, when Adam replies to God in the Garden of Eden; although it is assumed that Adam had many conversations with God prior to this time. From that point (fall of man) on God and people continued to talk, even outside the Garden of Eden (Genesis 4), but it was not until Genesis 4:26 that men began to call on the name of the LORD. The word “call” in this context comes from the Hebrew word, gara, which may be translated any number of ways; to call, to call out or shout, to recite, to proclaim or to summon. Here, it is an expression of “dependence and trust,” that is, from that point on men began to summon God through prayer for strength and direction in their physical and spiritual lives.

Biblical prayer presupposes a belief in the personality of God, His ability and willingness to communicate with us, His personal control of all things, and of all his creatures and all their actions. Acceptable Biblical prayer must be sincere (Hebrews 10:22), offered with reverence and godly fear, with a humble sense of our own insignificance as creatures and of our own unworthiness as sinners, with earnest importunity, and with unhesitating submission to the divine will. Prayer is effective from any physical position-kneeling, sitting, standing, lying or when one is standing on one’s head. It is not affected by physical activity-immobility, walking, running or jumping rope.

The bible is abundantly clear when it comes to prayer. The following Scriptures describe how, what and whom we are to pray according to God’s Word;

How we should pray;

  • Psalm 95:2 ~ Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
  • Matthew 6:9-13 (KJV) ~ After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
  • 1 Corinthians 14:15 ~ What am I to do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray withmy mind also; I will sing praise with my spirit, but I will sing with my mind also.
  • James 1:6 ~ But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.

What we should pray for;

  •  Psalm 50:14-15 ~ Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and perform your vows to the Most High, and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.”
  • Psalm 118:25 ~ Save us, we pray, O LORD! O LORD, we pray, give us success!
  • Psalm 122:6 ~ Pray for the peace of Jerusalem! May they be secure who love you!
  • Romans 10:1 ~ Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved.
  • Romans 10:13 ~ For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Who we should pray for;

  • Romans 15:30 ~ I appeal to you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God on my behalf,
  • 2 Corinthians 1:11 ~ You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.
  •  1 Timothy 2:1-2 ~ First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.
  • James 5:13-14 ~ Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.
  •  James 5:16 ~ Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

The Bible establishes that prayer is the exclusive property of God’s children. When Christ outlined the “model prayer” in Matthew 6, He said in verse 9 that believers pray to their “Father.” This reflects that prayer is based on a spiritual relationship between a person and God the Father. By faith alone in Christ alone, a person establishes this spiritual relationship-that is, he is born again from above (John 3:3-7). He becomes a “child of God” by this act of faith (John 1:12; Romans 8:16; 9:26; Galatians 3:26; 4:7; 1 John 3:1). From that point on, he has the privilege to address his requests and supplications to his Father in heaven.

About Jian Ming Zhong

In short, I am a five point calvinist, amillennial, post-trib rapture, paeudobaptistic (not for salvation), classical cessationism , and covenantal. I embrace Reformed Theology and subscribe to the WCF 1647. I do not break fellowship with anyone who holds to the essentials of the faith (i.e., the Trinity, the Deity of Christ, Jesus' Physical Resurrection, Virgin Birth, Salvation by Grace through Faith alone, Monotheism, and the Gospel being the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus) but does not affirm Calvinist Theology in the non-essentials. I strongly believe that God's grace and mercy are so extensive that within the Christian community there is a wide range of beliefs and as long as the essentials are not violated, then anyone who holds to those essentials but differs in the non-essentials is my brother or sister in Christ. Romans 11:36 "For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To whom be Glory forever. Amen!"
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