Study 07: Prayer

Why Do We Pray?

This is an introductory study about the topic of prayer. The Bible teaches us why we should pray, what we should pray for, and how we should pray. Prayer is the unique and special way that we are able to communicate with our Creator. It is a special link to connect with God. Many people have been taught to pray with their eyes closed, heads bowed, and hands folded, but the Bible describes that Jesus looked up toward heaven when he prayed to his Father. Some people pray to be seen by others, but God’s Son taught that prayer should also be a private matter. There are different approaches to prayer depending on the situation.

God’s Son is our mediator (or go-between), and when we pray to God, we must pray in Jesus’ name. Sometimes, when we ask for something to be accomplished, it may not happen because it is not according to God’s will. Or it might take longer than we expect for our prayer to receive an answer. Patience and persistence are important to have as we follow God in our journey.

From a scientific perspective, the human brain uses frequencies [1] and the scriptures explain that God knows the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Prayer is a unique and special way to connect with our Creator through His son and we can use it anytime and anywhere. (Hebrews 4:12)

Why pray?

  • For help
  • To endure
  • To overcome
  • This list could be endless

What does prayer mean?

  • Petition
  • Earnestly request
  • Ask for help
  • A way to offer spiritual sacrifices

Who do we pray to?

  • Almighty God, YHWH
  • Through His Son Jesus Christ

How to Pray

  • In private
  • As a group

What to pray for

  • Pray for things that are in alignment with God’s will (James 4:3)
  • The Holy Spirit to understand scriptures
  • Others to be comforted
  • Thanksgiving to God
  • God’s kingdom to come
  • Forgiveness
  • Wisdom
  • For many other prayer ideas, read the book of Psalms

Study 07: Prayer

Psalm 5:1-3 
Look up to God and make your request. In this verse, David makes his petition in the morning. Prayer is a great way to start your day. Consistent prayer is best.

John 17:1
Jesus Christ demonstrated how to pray because he looked towards God in Heaven. In this example, Jesus Christ demonstrated who to pray for: followers and believers. He also demonstrated what to pray for when he asked for followers and believers to be given help for service. This also shows that you are in direct communication with the Father in heaven. Anyone can pray directly to the Father, the Almighty God. (To analyze the entire prayer of Jesus Christ, read verses 1 through 26 which covers aspects of prayer: who, what, how, and why).

1 Timothy 2:1-8 
Christ is the mediator in all things including prayer.

John 16:23-24
Up until this time, the disciples had not asked for anything from God through Jesus Christ’s name. Christ was there with them in person. In verse 22, Christ mentions that he will reunite with his disciples in the future.

Matthew 6:5-13
Examples of how and what to pray for and how not to pray. One example of how not to pray is in a way that draws attention. Christ then provides an example of a prayer, but he does not explain that we need to follow it verbatim every time we pray. What is a vain repetition of prayer? Vain is inauthentic. Repeating words that are not from the heart in prayer is a vain repetition. You can repeat a prayer but if it is not from the heart, then it is considered vain repetition. As we mature spiritually, we learn how and what to pray for to make it our own prayer.

1 Thessalonians 5:17-18
Pray frequently and often. Give thanks in everything because this is God’s Will. Ask and thank Him continually through His son Jesus Christ. (See also Ephesians 5:20)

Luke 18:1-8
Be persistent in prayer to God and He will hear you. These verses are talking about a persistent woman, if you are persistent, you will get help. Who are some examples in the Bible that did not get what they asked for?

  • Jesus Christ: he asked for the cup to pass from him, that is to say, being crucified but qualified his request because he asked for his Father’s will to be done. (Matthew 26:39, Luke 22:42)
    • Result: Christ ended up being crucified as the Passover Lamb.
  • Paul: Sought to have his thorn in the flesh removed, but was told, “my grace is sufficient to you”. (2 Corinthians 12:8-10)
    • Result: Paul’s thorn in the flesh remained.
  • Daniel: Asked for the understanding of the prophecies he had just received but was told to rest because the words were sealed until the time of the end. (Daniel 12:8-9, 13)
    • Result: Daniel did not understand the visions, but was told to rest and stand in his lot at the end.

Acts 20:32-38
Christians who prayed together.

Acts 21:5
Kneeling down or holding hands may also be appropriate for the circumstances.

Matthew 21:18-22 
Pray believing you will receive your request. Faith is powerful and is a component of prayer.

Philippians 4:4-7
Do not worry about what will happen, instead pray to God to have peace.

Additional References for Further Study

  • James 5:13-16 – Examples of fervent prayer.
  • Romans 8:26-27 – The spirit makes intercessions for us.
  • 1 John 5:14-15 – Ask according to His will.
  • Job 42:10 – Pray for your friends.
  • Luke 11:9-13 – Ask for the Holy Spirit.
  • Revelation 8:3-4 – The prayers of the saints are saved to be an offering in the future.

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Study 18: The Saints
Study 14: The Soul