Most of us are familiar with a few key prayers from the Bible - the most well-known being The Lord’s Prayer. However, God has given us several prayers from the heroes and saints of the Old and New Testaments that we can pray today.
Obviously, the circumstances surrounding these prayers will not match our circumstances, nevertheless, when praying these prayers over our lives and the lives of others we can simply replace the names of people with our names. We can also read portions of the prayer and then pray them back to God as they apply to our circumstances.
10 Prayers in the Bible
Here are ten prayers in the Bible to pray over your life:
The High Priestly Prayer - John 17
“I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them.” - John 17:13
John 17 is known as “The High Priestly Prayer.” In this prayer, Jesus prays before His death while with His disciples. He does this so they “may have the full measure of my joy within them” (John 17:13). In other words, Jesus wants His disciples to understand that joy comes from knowing Him.
The High Priestly Prayer has three parts. First, Jesus prays for Himself. What’s significant is that Jesus tells God “I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do” (verse 4). Jesus then asks God to glorify Him, to restore Him to His rightful position of honor. When we pray this prayer, we, too, can ask God to help us bring Him glory by completing the work He gives us to do.
The second part of this prayer is Jesus’ prayer for His disciples. Jesus asks God to protect His disciples “by the power of your name” (verse 11) and “from the evil one” (verse 15). He also prays for God to sanctify the disciples by His truth which is His word (verse 17). Jesus communicates that the unity of the disciples means them recognizing that just as Jesus is not of this world, neither are they. We can use this second part of the High Priestly Prayer to pray for unity between us and other believers, protection from evil, and sanctification as we live in this world but are not of this world.
Finally, Jesus prays for future believers. He prays for unity between new believers, fellow believers, and Himself. Other people know Jesus and His love for them by the unity we display. Therefore, we should pray and strive for unity today.
The Lord’s Prayer - Matthew 6:9-13
“‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” - Matthew 6:9-10
We might recite the Lord's Prayer by memory, but do we use it as often as we could? The Lord’s Prayer is more of a model for praying than it is for recitation. Here, Jesus teaches His disciples elements to include in any prayer.
The elements included in the Lord's Prayer are adoration, confession, and supplication. We adore God by telling Him who He is to us - His power and majesty. We confess our sins and ask for help in forgiving others. And then we ask for what we need and want. Included in supplication is asking God for His will to be done - not ours. This is important because even though we’re asking for specific things, God is sovereign and what we ask for may not be His will. Therefore, we ask with a heart of surrender.
We also pray for our daily bread meaning what we need for today. This acknowledges that God provides everything we need and He does so for only the time we need it. He’ll provide what we need in the future when the time comes. We should not worry about what’s to come, but only what we need today.
Lastly, we pray for protection against the enemy. We recognize that there is a spiritual world that is against us and trying to divert us from God’s best.
Prayer for Spiritual Strength - Ephesians 3:14-21
“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”- Ephesians 3:14-19
My favorite prayer from the Bible is Ephesians 3:14-21. Paul prayed it for the Ephesians. Eloquently written and beautiful to read out loud, Paul's prayer is packed with truth that every believer needs.
In this prayer for spiritual strength, we find these main ideas - strength comes from the power of the Holy Spirit, Christ dwells in our hearts through faith, we are to be rooted and established in love, we have the power to grasp the love of Christ, we should know that God's love surpasses knowledge, and we can be filled to the measure of the fullness of God.
This is a prayer that I pray over myself and my family. I also pray this over young women I mentor and new believers. When you are in a season of discouragement, pray this prayer out loud for yourself every day.
David’s Prayer for Guidance - Psalm 25:1-2, 4-5
In you, Lord my God, I put my trust. I trust in you; do not let me be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me… Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior and my hope is in you all day long.
In his prayer in Psalm 25, David tells God that he gives Him his life and trusts in Him. Then in verse four, David asks God to lead him and show him the path to follow. David tells God he puts his hope in Him.
Praying this prayer of David’s relinquishes God’s wisdom in our lives by helping us to make choices through His guidance.
Hannah’s Prayer of Praise - 1 Samuel 2:1-10
“My heart rejoices in the Lord; in the Lord my horn is lifted high. My mouth boasts over my enemies, for I delight in your deliverance. “There is no one holy like the Lord, there is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God.” 1 Samuel 2:1-2
Reading Hannah’s prayer we remember that she felt deeply distressed, even depressed, over infertility. Hannah cried out to God and begged Him to give her a son. She then promised God that if He blessed her with a son she would give him back to the Lord. God did answer her prayer and gave her Samuel.
Hannah’s first response to God’s blessing of Samuel is praise. How often is that our first response? For me, it’s not often enough. When God has answered a long-awaited prayer, we can pray Hannah’s prayer of praise.
Daniel’s Prayer for Forgiveness and Restoration - Daniel 9
“Now, our God, hear the prayers and petitions of your servant. For your sake, Lord, look with favor on your desolate sanctuary. Give ear, our God, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears your Name. We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy. Lord, listen! Lord, forgive! Lord, hear and act! For your sake, my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name.” Daniel 9:17-19
Before Daniel prayed his prayer in Daniel 9, he received a vision from the Lord. It revealed that the 70 years of the Israelites' captivity in Babylon were coming to an end. Daniel confessed to the Lord all the sins of the Israelites - past and present. He asked God for forgiveness and asked Him to have mercy on them. Daniel, who was righteous and obeyed God, included himself in this prayer. He used “we” instead of “them.” This shows Daniel’s humility knowing that no one is without sin.
Daniel’s prayer is good to pray over a family in generational bondage because of generational sin. Even though we may not be originally culpable for the sin, the Bible tells us that generational sin seeps down from generation to generation (Exodus 34:7). This means that some sins become part of our nature even if we don’t choose them. This gives all of us something to repent. By praying Daniel’s prayer for our own family, we can begin to break the stronghold of generational sins in our families.
Nehemiah’s Prayer for Favor - Nehemiah 1
“Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. Give your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence of this man.” Nehemiah 1:11
In the first chapter of Nehemiah, Nehemiah himself learns of the continued destruction of Jerusalem despite the Israelites being back in the city for many years after their exile to Babylon. He begins to mourn, fast, and pray out of the great burden he feels. In his prayer, Nehemiah admits the sins of his people and then asks God to grant him favor with King Artaxerxes so that he will let Nehemiah go to Jerusalem and lead the rebuilding of the city.
Nehemiah's prayer of favor helps us when we need mercy from someone in authority over us.
The Prayer of Jabez - 1 Chronicles 4:10
“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.”
It’s tempting to interpret the Prayer of Jabez as a prayer for prosperity. However, when we read and understand this prayer we see that Jabez is praying for God’s provision for him according to God’s will for his life. He is asking God to bless him not materially but by His presence and protection so that he can expand his reach in doing what God called him to do.
The Prayer of Jabez calms our fears when God calls us to do something we don't think we are capable of doing. We can pray the Prayer of Jabez when we want God’s provisions of presence and protection so that He can accomplish more of His will through us.
Prayer for Identity and Surrender - Psalm 139
“Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely. You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.” Psalm 139:4-6
Whenever we doubt our identity and self-worth, we need to turn to Psalm 139. This Psalm of David proves our dignity as people created in God’s image. David praises God for creating us in such an intricate way. Then, he praises God for his majesty compared to us, His creation. At the end of this prayer, David surrenders to God asking him to search him, test him, and make him holy.
As women who doubt our worth often, Psalm 139 should be a staple prayer for us. It reminds us of the deliberation with which God made us, the power He has in our lives, and the truth that we are still prone to impure motives and thoughts.
Jesus’ Prayer of Submission - Matthew 26:36-46
“My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.” - Matthew 26:42
There might not be a more powerful prayer in the Bible than this one from Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. As Jesus heads to the Cross, we see his humanity. Three times He asks God if there’s any other way besides His death on the Cross to save His people. However, Jesus doesn’t leave His prayer with the request. He also prays “Your will be done.”
With any request we make of God, this posture of surrender must be ours too. Praying for God’s will releases us from anxiety that we’re in control of and have to find answers to our problems.
Image Credit: ©Getty/pamela_d_mcadams
This article is part of our larger Prayer resource meant to inspire and encourage your prayer life when you face uncertain times. Remember, the Holy Spirit intercedes for us and God knows your heart even if you can't find the words to pray.
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