How to Pray According to the Bible
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
We pray, and often we do not know exactly how to pray or stop because we “run out of gas.” Yet the Bible instructs us how to pray in numerous passage! I have listed some passages and my idea of what or how they tell us to pray.
The first, and most famous, is the Lord’s Prayer. I will not repeat it here, since we say it every day in our Daily Devotion. “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. (Matthew 6:5-6)
Yet there are many more passages that tell us, generally or specifically, to pray for something or in some manner. This is not an exhaustive list:
Pray to forgive others.Mark 11:25 -- “And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”
Pray not to give in to temptation.Matthew 26:41 -- Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. (Many places, e.g. Luke 22:46)
Pray for people who persecute or abuse us.Matthew 5:44 -- But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you . . . . (Luke 6:28 -- “bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.”)
Pray for people to spread Christianity.Matthew 9:37-38 -- “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”
Pray that you will be ready and the end of times will not create extra suffering for you.Matthew 24:20 -- “Pray that your flight may not be in winter or on a Sabbath.” (Mark 13:18)
Pray to escape God’s wrath on the world.Luke 21:34-36 -- “But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”
Pray that God’s will be done, not ours.Matthew 26:39 -- And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”
Pray to drive out demons.Mark 9:29 -- And he said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.”
Pray in isolation.Luke 5:16 -- But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray.
Pray a long time in isolation.Luke 6:12 -- In these days he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God.
Pray to confess your sins and to ask for mercy .Luke 18:13-14 -- “But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other.”
Pray for boldness in speaking God's word.Acts 4:29 -- “And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness . . .”
Pray to heal illness.Acts 28:8 -- It happened that the father of Publius lay sick with fever and dysentery. And Paul visited him and prayed, and putting his hands on him, healed him. Also, James 5:14 -- 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.
Ask the Holy Spirit to pray for you.Romans 8:26 -- Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.
Pray for knowledge and discernment.Philippians 1:9 -- And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, . . .
Pray to rid youself of anxiety.Philippians 4:6 -- Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
Pray for what you want.Philippians 4:6 -- Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
Pray that others might have spiritual wisdom.Colossians 1:9 -- And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding . . .
Pray for everyone!.1 Timothy 2 -- I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people
Pray for civil authorities.1 Timothy 2 -- I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for kings and all who are in high positionsy.
Pray for a peaceful life.1 Timothy 2 -- I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.
Pray in order to make things holy.1 Timothy 4:4-6 -- For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.
Pray to confess your sins and to ask for forgiveness.James 5:16 -- Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.
Pray for good weather and abundance.James 5:17-18 -- Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit.