This is a Bible study on Prayer. Click here for a printable Bible Study Guide.
The dictionary defines prayer as an address to God or a god in word or thought; a set order of words used in praying; an earnest request or wish; the act or practice of praying to God or a god; a religious service consisting chiefly of prayers; something prayed for; a slight chance.
The world view of prayer and the biblical view of prayer are different.
Prayer is communication with God. Although, we generally say that we pray to God, we in fact pray with God. Our prayers are not one sided, when we pray we are not just saying words, we are speaking with God, we are praying with God. When we pray, we are not just saying words to God, we are communicating with God, we are conversing with God. When we are right with God, He hears our prayers, God listens to us and we are to listen to Him.
When we speak with a friend, it wouldn't be much of a conversation, if we never listened to what they had to say, this would be talking to them, not with them. We speak with them, not to them. A conversation is an interaction between two or more others. You can't have a true conversation all by yourself. When we converse with others we give our input, and then the other person gives their input. Conversation is an exchange of thoughts, ideas, questions, answers, and comments between us and someone else. Yes, of course you can certainly talk to yourself, but the answers will be one sided, yours.
We are to pray to the one and only true living God, the Creator and Maker of all things.
Don't think this is an odd question. Many people around the world pray to many different things, people, and other gods.
Some people pray to the earth, the stars, the planets, the trees, living and dead objects. Some people pray to other people, living or dead. Some people pray to other gods.
God says that there are no other gods, that He alone is the one true living God.
God says that all graven images are dead, that they have eyes but cannot see, have ears but cannot hear. God goes on further to say that the people whose hands make these graven images and the people who worship them are also dead, just like their idols.
We see people bowing down and praying to different graven images of things, or people, or other gods.
God tells us in His word that His people are NOT to bow down to any graven images made by the hands of men. God calls this act idolatry.
We know by God's word that worshipping graven images is strictly forbidden by Almighty God.
No one is to pray to anyone other than God.
No one is to pray to idols, statues, things, self, human beings living or dead.
No one is allowed by God to pray through any other person or persons, other than Himself, God the Father and God the Son, Jesus Christ.
God specifically states that it is an abomination to Him, when people pray to or pray through anyone but Him alone.
Praying only to God was commanded by God to all people and written down in His Holy Word for all people.
People who pray to (or through) someone or something other than God Almighty are in error.
We are to learn the truth of God through God Himself, not other people. There is only one truth, one law of God, which is given to all men by God Himself, through His own Holy word.
God condemns and forbids us from praying to any statue. God condemns and forbids us from praying through any statue.
Our faith is to be established in God alone. Praying to any image, praying through any image is placing your faith in the image and not in God.
God strictly forbids the use of any image, of anyone or anything. We are not to own, make, desire, have, or use in anyway, any image of anyone or anything. This commandment from God is the second commandment that God gave to Moses included in the Ten Commandments.
Exodus 20:4, 5; Deuteronomy 5:8, 9, 10
The only being that God the Father allows His children to pray to Him through is His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ.
Prayers to God the Father can only come through one mediator, which God Himself appointed, Jesus Christ (1 Timothy 2:5).
We are not allowed by God the Father to pray through any other, except Christ Jesus our Lord.
Believers are allowed to come to God with all our prayers and supplications because we have received the salvation of God through the Lord Jesus Christ. Through our covenant with God, the salvation of our souls, we are made priests, enabling us to boldly approach the Holy throne of God.
Many cultures pray through their dead, through dead people, through dead prophets, through dead saints, through dead leaders, and/or through dead gods.
Our God is alive and He is the one true living Jehovah God Almighty (Isaiah 26:4; Revelation 1:8).
God is not the God of the dead but the God of the living (Mark 12:27).
Our trust is to be only in the one true living Lord God Almighty. Praying to (or through) others place your trust in them.
God wants all our trust to be placed in Him alone, no one else.
Praying through other beings or things is idolatry, and forbidden by God. Idolatry is placing anything or anyone in God's place.
Well, what about intercessory prayer, that's in the Bible? Yes it is, but intercessory is praying on behalf of someone with God, NOT praying to them or through them to God.
We are not to pray to things that God created, this includes: the earth, trees, stars, moons, planets, rocks, and creatures including: birds, cows, any animals, and any people - past, present, or future.
We are not to pray to things created by the hands of men: graven images, statues, idols, buildings, technology, material possessions, money, etc.
We are not to pray to (or through) any objects. We are not to use graven images in any way when praying or worshipping the one true living God Almighty, as it is forbidden. The use of graven images of anything or anyone is against God and His Holy Word. God does not accept any worship when used in combination with graven images.
Any graven images used by anyone serving God is illegal with God. Illegal graven images include, but are not limited to statues, pictures, murals, electronic projections, videos, printed images, tattoos, and any other graven images. Illegal graven images are made from stone, marble, plastic, wood, plaster, glass, paper, flesh as in tattoos, all types of materials. Illegal graven images includes "the similitude of any figure, the likeness of male or female" which includes any figure, any person, anyone from the past, present, or future. Illegal graven images include the likeness of any creature "any beast" that is on the earth or animal that "flieth in the air". Illegal graven images include the likeness of anything that creepeth on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the waters.
Do not be deceived. The likeness of anything real or imagined is illegal to use. The likeness of anything real or imaged is illegal to make, for yourself or to give or sell to others. The likeness of anything real or imaged is illegal own. Do not be deceived, using graven images is turning from God.
Graven images are forbidden by God, and this includes making them, owing them, and using them. Graven images are illegal with God to make, use, and own if connected anyway to God, if they are used in connection to the worship to God or in prayer with God. God allows absolutely no graven images to be associated in prayer, service, and worship to Him. Absolutely no image - no matter who it is representing - is to be used in worship to Him.
God has and will never accept any graven images in His presence. God has never and will never change His mind on this commandment. Do not be deceived, all of those who reject the commandments of God will receive the wrath of God for rejecting His truth.
God gave us His commandments for our benefit, so that we have nothing between us, so that there is nothing between us and God, nothing between us and service to Him, nothing between us and worship to Him, and nothing between us and prayer to Him. We have direct access to God, we do not have to go through anything. God gifts all of His children with direct access to Him. No idols required. No statues required. No images required. God designed humankind to have a relationship with Him, not through anything.
God is smarter than human beings. God knows what is best for us. God wants to keep us from harm. Keep yourselves from idols (1 John 5:21). Abstain from pollutions of idols (Acts 15:20). God loves us and every law, every commandment is for our benefit, so that we can live an abundant life today with Him and with Him forevermore. God's law of no graven images was given to mankind for our benefit, because God loves us so much. Graven images is a trap, the trap of idolatry.
No human being can use graven images in worship to God, this is God's law. Trust in God. Trust that God knows what is best for His creation, don't use graven images. If you have graven images, or use graven images, repent of this sin toward God today. Turn to God from idols, repent of using idols and turn to God (1 Thessalonians 1:9). Get right with God. Believe God, not man. No one can serve God using graven images. No one can worship God using graven images. This is God's law. Believers of God follow God, not man. Believe in God.
I choose God. I choose to believe in God. I choose to love God with all my heart, with all my soul, with all my spirit, and I choose to follow His rule for my life. If we love God, as we say that we do, we will follow all of His commandments, and not make, use, or own any graven images to be used in any capacity of service, worship or prayer to Him.
Many cultures around this world make, use and own graven images in their worship to their gods. Believers of the one true living God know that idols are nothing, and that there is none other God but one (1 Corinthians 8:4-5). Our God, the God of the Holy Bible, the God whom we have chosen to serve and belong to, has forbidden the use of any and all graven images in our worship, in our prayers, and in any service to Him.
Our God has no part in graven images (2 Corinthians 6:16). Our God is not in any statue, not in any graven image. God abides in the hearts of His people, not in any idol, statue, or graven image. Our God has nothing to do with graven images, therefore we - as His children - have nothing to do with graven images.
In the end, at the end of all things, God will destroy all graven images on this planet, and anyone attached to them will be destroyed with them (Micah 5:13, 15). God desires you to be where He created you to be - which is with Him now and for all eternity.
Prayer with God is NOT a shopping list
Prayer is communication with God, speaking with God, talking with God, not at God.
Prayer is not a "shopping list" of things we want from God. We don't pray at God, we pray with God.
We don't pray to God by barking out orders to Him, demanding things from God, giving Him ultimatums, or making deals "you do this, then I'll do that", "you give me this, then I'll give you that".
No, our prayers are not AT God, but, our prayers are WITH God. We are not to pray at God, as if He is some inanimate object; no, we pray with God because He is the living Lord God Almighty.
We pray with God, communicating with Him, praising His Holy name, thanking Him for all the multitude of gifts that He has so mercifully given us, seeking increase in our faith, increase in the knowledge of Him, diligently seeking His Kingdom, praying that His will be done in our lives, seeking His strength, seeking His face, and His voice in our lives.
We must seek God in prayer, not for what He can do for us, but because of who He is to us, and all that He has done for us.
God wants us to bring Him ourselves, to gift our lives to Him, for Him to use us as He chooses.
Only by giving ourselves to God can we receive the gifts of God, salvation and everlasting life.
Prayer with God is NOT one sided
Did you know that the true living God Almighty waits for you every morning to wake up and talk with Him?
God is waiting on us every day to communicate with Him, to interact with Him, to exchange information with Him, to exchange love with Him, to seek Him, and to know Him. God desires communication with us.
Communication is not one sided. If when we talked with a friend, but we never allowed them to speak or answer us, this is not communication it is a one-sided lecture.
Prayer with God is NOT one sided. Prayer is communicating with God, we must listen for the voice of God to speak with us, guide us and answer us.
God promises to answer all prayers of His faithful believers. God promises to answer all our prayers, which are prayed in faith to Him. Sometimes the answer is immediate, sometimes we must wait on God's answer.
No human being likes to wait. We are born impatient, wanting immediate satisfaction of all our requests. When we are born, we cry out for our mother's care and attention. We are not born knowing how to wait, we must learn to wait, we must learn patience, we learn patience by practicing patience, we must practice waiting.
We must learn to wait on our Lord God. God promises to answer all the prayers of all His children. We must learn to wait on the Lord.
Everyone has need of patience, as everyone can benefit from more patience.
Patience, like anything else, takes practice. The more times we wait, the more patient we become. Patience is grown, patience is a process. Patience is required and promised by God to His faithful servants.
Prayer is communications with God the Father through God the Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus came to earth to sacrifice His own life for the sins of all the people of this whole world, so that we through Him might be saved from sin and death.
There is no other way to God the Father, except through the Son of God, Jesus Christ.
God the Father set up His Son, Jesus Christ, as mediator for all the people of all the world. We communicate to God the Father through the Son.
God the Father instructs us all through His Holy word, to pray to Him and to do all things in the name of the Lord Jesus.
Whatsoever includes all things, whatsoever you do in word or deed, whatsoever includes prayer, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus.
Pray early and daily
How wonderful our days would be, if we chose to hear God's voice every morning!
Pray without ceasing
So far, we have been shown through the word of God, that prayer is communication with God, between God and man through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Now let's look at when the word of God reads that we are to pray.
Many people pray when they believe that they are in a crisis, have an illness, or loved one is sick or dying.
When should we pray? The word of God tells us that we are to pray without ceasing. This means that there should not be a time in our life when we do not pray.
I love this scripture - "pray without ceasing" - so simple, so complete. Pray without ceasing means more than just the act of praying, this means that God promises us, that He will always be available - 24/7 - 365 days - to hear our prayers. We know this because He is the one who told us in His word to - Pray without ceasing - and if God instructs us to pray without ceasing we can know that He is available without ceasing to hear all the prayers that are prayed.
God is waiting on me and you every day to communicate with Him, to pray with Him.
Who else but God can you call on anytime of the day or night, no mater what is going on? Who else but God promises to always be there - no matter what, anytime we call on Him? Who else but God never fails us, never forsakes us, never disappoints us? There is no one else but God, only God is faithful to all His promises.
Some people may say that praying without ceasing is impossible, they may claim that no one can pray without ceasing; but, this is what God says to these people: with God all things are possible.
Yes, all things are possible with God. God never commands us to do anything, that He doesn't give us the grace to do.
The power to do all things with God is available to all God's children.
As the children of the most high God, we should have a heart conditioned to prayer. We should think of prayer as breathing, automatic and life sustaining.
Are you "instant in prayer"?
Pray in all things
Prayer should be automatic, like breathing. We should pray when we have joy, not just when we experience sorrow.
A day does not go by, that I do not think about my late husband. At the time of his death, I thought the pain and sorrow would kill me, but God helped me through, just as He always has done. And today I can thank God for him, for giving him to me, for letting me share his wonderful, brief life with Him. I can thank God for the wonderful times that we shared, and laughed, and cried together, such sweet memories, so much love we shared, such a blessing in my life. God has led me to accepting His will over my will, and giving me comfort and joy in all things, even in the things that I do not understand.
There is an old saying, you can get bitter or you can get better. God wants us to get better, to heal our broken hearts, He wants to help us, we do not have to recover alone.
Give it to God. Give your heartache, your pain, your sorrow, your worry, your anguish, your tears, give it all to God. God is enough to take it from you and give you peace and comfort in return.
God never promised that His children will not face trouble, but He did promise us a way out of all our trouble and that He would be with us always.
God promises to help us through all things.
When should we pray? We should all pray, before all things.
We should pray first, before all things that we do.
We should pray first, when we wake up in the morning. There is no better way to start a new day, than with our Heavenly Father.
We should definitely pray first, before making any decision.
For me, I have failed numerous times in the past in this area, and my decisions brought about heartache. Self inflected pain, that could be avoided if I had only prayed first. If I would have just prayed first, let God lead me and guide my decisions, I wouldn't have suffered through my wrong decision making.
Remember, there is nothing too big or too small for God. We are to give Him all our requests, all our problems, He is the ultimate problem solving decision maker in the world. And His decisions are 100% guaranteed to have a perfect result every time.
I believe we all should and could pray more than we do.
There are many reasons (excuses) why we do not pray more. Through the Scriptures we read that sin, the cares of this world, our habits, and faith and lack of vision are some of the reasons we do not pray.
Don't think for a moment that you can live in sin, sin willfully, and have a right relationship with God, because God said it doesn't work that way.
Sin shuts down anyone's prayer life. If we are sinning, we are not praying. If we are praying, we are not sinning.
Righteousness and sin cannot live together. God says no one can drink from the cup of devils and the cup of the Lord (1 Corinthians 10:21). We either turn from God and turn to sin, or we turn from sin and turn to God.
We must seek the righteousness and the truth of God above all else.
Sin kills prayer. We must repent of sin. We must turn from sin to God. We must purposefully choose prayer. We must purposefully choose to seek God in prayer.
On the flip side, prayer kills sin. If we are seeking God, mediating on His word, seeking His will to be done in our lives, obeying God, walking out our faith every day, we will not yield to sin, because God promises to keep us from temptation who place their trust in Him.
Cares of the world
"I just don't have the time", "I'm just too busy", familiar phrases we have all said at some point in our busy life. We are so busy - being busy!
Too often, we are too busy doing things that aren't really important at all.
Yes, most of us must work, but we don't have to work all the time.
Yes, we can enjoy our life and have hobbies and recreation, but they should never replace time spent with God.
God says in His word that the cares of this world choke His word (Mark 4:19). We should never let the cares of this world squeeze God out of our lives.
The first commandment of the ten commandments given to Moses from God is, "thou shalt have no other gods before me". If your job, or your car, or your sports, or your games, or your golf, or your hobbies, or your anything takes up so much time in your life, so that you have no place for God, you need to change, before it is too late.
We either purposely push the world out of our lives, or we push God out of our lives.
Nothing is more important than God. We should never let our meaningless stuff, replace our life with our Lord God Almighty.
How much time do you spend on stuff? Do you even know? It may be helpful, if you keep a list of time you spend on doing things during a typical week, it may surprise you just how much time you have wasted on junk.
How much time do you spend with God every week? Have you spoken with Him today? Do you give Him your best time? Do you give Him any of your precious time?
Do you hurriedly say a few prayers, when you are completely exhausted, before you drift off to sleep?
What do you think God deserves from you? What are you going to do about it?
"Instant in prayer" and "pray without ceasing", these are developed habits of a faithful believer.
You have heard the saying it takes only 21 days to develop a habit, well, I don't know if that is true or not, but I guarantee you if you start praying today, and continue every day for 21 days straight, it will become a habit.
"Instant in prayer", this is like breathing. We don't think about breathing, we just breathe, every day of our life. No matter what our season in life, no matter what our current circumstances, no matter what trials we face, the children of God are to be "instant in prayer", automatically praying in good times and in bad times, and all the times in between.
Many people pray before they go to sleep, because they learned bedtime prayers when they were a child. Hopefully, as an adult, this is now not the only time you pray.
Habits are learned by repeating a process.
Many believers have dry periods in their lifetime, where their faith is not what it should be, and they cease to pray.
Ceasing to pray, never solved anything. Prayer brings results.
God is merciful and forgives us all our trespasses. All we need to do is ask for His forgiveness and repent, which is turning from the sin in our lives, and start praying with Him again, and we will be forgiven, and we will begin to get right with God.
God promises to forgive all who truly seek His forgiveness.
God promises to help us and strengthen our faith, and all we must do is ask Him with a sincere heart.
Sometimes we lose our focus on what is important in our lives. We drift away from God.
We should not delay in refocusing ourselves on God. We should never put off, getting right with God. No one is promised a tomorrow.
God promises to forgive every repentant heart.
Our vision, our focus, our mark, our prize is Christ Jesus. Jesus is where every believer is journeying toward. The prize of every believer is to see the face of our Lord and Savior. We finish our race when we are in the presence of God.
As there are many different types of people in this world, there will be many different types of prayers.
Though prayer we can be saved through faith and receive redemption of our sins.
Praise and worship God
Through prayer we can praise and worship our Lord God.
Thank God for all things
Through prayer we can offer thanksgiving to our Great God.
Ask God for His help
Through prayer we give to God our supplications.
Through prayer we ask God for spiritual and physical healing.
Gain wisdom and truth
Through prayer we seek God, diligently seek His truth and His knowledge and His wisdom.
More has been done through prayer than we will ever know.
Before we pray, our hearts must be right with God.
There are four essential keys God requires from us for prayer with Him:
Faith in God and faith in Jesus Christ is required for all prayers to God.
No one can pray to God without faith in God. A prayer without faith is not a prayer to God.
God says we must have unwavering faith to receive answers to our prayers.
God says without unwavering faith, you will receive nothing from Him.
Faith is required of prayer with God.
Our loving God tells us how we can always have such faith.
Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
Therefore, if we read and study the word of God, we will have the faith that God requires us to have. We stay connected to God through faith. We pray to God through faith. We communicate to God through faith, there is no other way to pray except through faith.
Without faith it is impossible to please God.
If we communicate with God through worship and prayer we hear the word of God.
Faith is not an option with God. You cannot know God without faith in Him.
For more information see - FAITH
The first prayer everyone must pray is the prayer for salvation.
In order to communicate effectively with God our heart must be right with God.
Salvation is an essential key of prayer with God.
In order for our heart to be right with God, we must be saved.
To be saved, we must pray and:
What is our first prayer to God?
Our prayer for salvation is our first prayer to God. We must have faith in God to pray for salvation. Faith in God and Jesus Christ is required for salvation.
A prayer for salvation can be as follows, but you want to use your own words and pray from your heart directly to God.
First Prayer for salvation:
For more detailed information see - SALVATION
How do we know that we must be saved in order to pray? Because the prayer that Jesus gave as a model of all our prayers says, commonly called the Lord's Prayer, begins with:
Our Father which art in heaven.
Only the children of God - can call God - Father.
Therefore we must first be born again, saved, we must be the children of God to pray.
In order for God to abide in us, we must be saved.
After we are saved, what we ask and pray we will receive, through the will of God.
Forgiveness is necessary for effective prayer.
We must forgive everybody for everything to be forgiven by God and before we can ask in prayer for anything of God.
I do not believe forgiveness towards others is taught enough today. We are taught about the forgiveness of God toward us, but we are not taught about the type of forgiveness we must have toward others.
We must forgive in order for God to forgive us of our sins. Unforgiveness is sin. We must be forgiven of our sins in order for God to hear our prayers. God does not hear sinners.
In order to be forgiven, God says we must forgive everyone.
Forgiveness is an essential key of prayer with God.
God says if we forgive, then He will forgive us.
God says if we do NOT forgive, God will NOT forgive us.
Who are we to forgive you ask? Everyone.
We must forgive everyone for everything. No one or nothing is excluded.
Forgiveness is NOT an option with God.
We are to forgive everybody for everything when we pray, so God will forgive us.
If you do NOT forgive, God will NOT forgive you.
God wants us all to be forgiving to each other.
We must all forgive all.
Forgiveness is required by God and as so, unforgiveness is of the devil.
The devil loves it when people cannot forgive. The devil is very pleased when people can't forgive, because the devil knows unforgiveness separates you from God.
For more detailed information see - Tools of the Devil - Unforgiveness
For additional information see - FORGIVENESS
God is love.
Without God there is no love. No one can know God without love.
We are here, were born because the love of God. To know God we must love God with all our heart and with all our soul and with all our mind and with all our strength AND we must love one another.
We must have the love of God in our hearts in order to pray.
Love is an essential key of prayer with God.
We cannot do anything without love.
If we do NOT have love toward others, we do NOT know God.
God loves those that love him.
Why is love so important with God? Because God is love. Everything God is, was, or is to be is love. Love is the essence of God. God is the source of all love.
Love is not an option with God. You cannot know God without love.
For more information see - LOVE
So before we pray, what are the essential keys for prayer?
We know for a fact that God knows everything. We also know that God knows what we need before we ask Him
If God knows everything and God knows what we need before we ask Him, why do I need to pray?
God knows our thoughts before we think them, so why do we need to pray and ask Him for anything?
The answer is:
The second reason should be enough for us, but let us look at the first reason - because God loves us so much.
Do you know just how much God loves you?
God loves us so much that He created us. God didn't have to create us, but He did. And He loves us, who He created.
God wants to have communication with us. God wants to talk with us. God waits on us every day to talk with us. I think this is incredible, that Almighty God, the Creator of the universe, wants to spend time talking with me!
God longs to hear my voice and your voice. When we become His children, He wants to give us everything that is good. We are God's children and as His children He wants to give us everything we want, everything we ask Him to give us!
God cares for us so much and wants us to tell Him our problems and come to Him for the answers. God is waiting to help us every day.
God wants us to tell Him when we are happy and the wonderful things that are going on in our lives.
When you love someone, you want to talk with them and be a part of their life. You can't wait to hear what they have to say today.
When you love someone, you want to be there for them and let them know how much you care. You want to reach out to them and help them in any way you can.
When you love someone, you want them to have a wonderful life and want them to have everything that they want.
God is the same to those He loves. God loves all His children.
This is what God wants with us:
Not praying is a sin against the LORD
Did you know that not praying is a sin against God? Many people may not know that not praying is a sin.
We are to pray without ceasing and in everything give thanks to God.
Blessings of prayer
You will be blessed beyond your wildest dreams, if you commit to a daily prayer life with God. God wants to give us His blessings.
God will never disappoint you.
Could you use more blessings in your life? God says, the faithful shall abound with blessings, and praying is being faithful to God.
Can believers pray through anyone and be praying to the Most High God?
Can believers pray through objects, like statues and their prayers be heard by the Almighty God?
Can believers pray through other people to God?
Who can make intercession for us? Who can we pray through and our prayers be delivered to God?
The word of God, God says that Christ Jesus, the only begotten Son of God, and the Holy Spirit are the only ones who can make intercession for us.
The children of God can only pray through Christ Jesus and the Holy Spirit, no one else, nothing else. Praying through anyone other than Jesus or the Holy Spirit is idolatry and is not tolerated by Almighty God.
No one but God can intercede for God. We are to pray to God through God alone, no one or nothing else.
We are to pray through and to the only One True Living Jehovah God Almighty.
God is the same today as He was yesterday.
God still answers every prayer.