What the Bible Says about Prayer
by Hugh Houchin 11/13/2011 / Bible Studies
In the Bible, prayer is an integral part of the Old and New Testaments. In fact, the Bible's first reference to prayer is in Genesis, where the first book of the Bible says humankind called on (prayed to) the Lord. (4:26). Then, too, another reference to prayer is in Revelation, the final book of the Bible. (8:4) In addition, the 64 books between Genesis and Revelation refer to prayer, or a form of the word prayer, over 500 times.
Therefore, for you as a believer, God's Word points to prayer as a major component of your relationship with Him, for example:
The book of Matthew demonstrates praying is the highest expression of faith you lay before God, because, through prayer, you build a relationship with Him (7:7-8).
The book of John explains that through this relationship with Him you bear spiritual fruit (15:4).
The book of Luke says that by way of His grace and blood you enter His presence (Lu 22:20).
The book of Romans expounds that the Holy Spirit is the vehicle that delivers your prayers to His presence (8:26-27).
Thus, through prayer, you experience God's sovereignty via His immediacy. When you express your needs, hopes, and dependence on Him, your soul delights with humility to that immediacy. Humility submits to the presence of God, and invokes complete reliance on Him. You've exposed yourself, yet you're not vulnerable, because, in His Majesty, He protects your humility.
Prayer falls under the umbrella of worship, which in reference to God's sovereignty includes adoration and reverence, along with impotence and resignation. Next, under the umbrella of prayer, are the three basic types of prayer: requests, fellowship and intercession:
Basic to a prayer are requests and you may request anything you desire, either physical or spiritual. However, remember that prayer is a major component of your relationship with an almighty, sovereign, God, and He's not a slot machine where you insert a prayer, pull a lever, and your requests tumble out. Along with other advice concerning prayer, the book of Matthew warns about trying to finesse God, because He knows your needs before you ask. (6:1-8).
As your walk with God matures, your prayer life will include listening to Him. When this happens, your fellowship with Him ripens and He discloses more of Himself to you. Matthew tells of Jesus being alone with the Father, which is an example for you to follow (14:23).
The third type of prayer is intercession, or arbitration. Intercessory prayer is unselfish prayer, because you pray for others, over and above your needs. John records an intercessory prayer of Jesus; it shows His love for those the Father gave Him for eternal life. He prayed this prayer, for others, even though He knew His own crucifixion was just hours away. (17:1-26)
"Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest" Matthew 11:28. Prayer is your rest.
All quotes from the Bible are from an NASB translation.
Hugh Houchin is retired, but enjoys fulltime freelance writing. His publishing credits include articles and columns in western Nebraska newspapers and numerous websites.