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Pray from the Heart

Prayer is powerful and effective, the Bible says. Let's learn about prayer - what the Bible says about it, and how you can lead prayer in your family. It is an important tool for families to use regularly. 

What is prayer?

Prayer is talking to God with spoken words or meditation of the heart.

“May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer” (Psalm 19:14).

 

Why do we pray?

God invites us (and even commands us!) to pray.

“Pray continually” (1 Thessalonians 5:17).

“Call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me” (Psalm 50:15).

 

Whose prayers does God hear?

God hears and answers the prayers of all who trust in him.

“The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are attentive to their cry” (Psalm 34:15).

 

To whom only do we pray?

We pray only to the one, true God.

“The LORD is the true God; he is the living God, the eternal king” (Jeremiah 10:10).

 

Why is trust in the true God the foundation of our prayers?

Only the true God can and will keep all of his promises.

“Not one of the LORD’s good promises to Israel failed; every one was fulfilled” (Joshua 21:45).

“If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:11).

 

Where and when can we pray?

We can pray anywhere and everywhere.

“Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing” (1 Timothy 2:8).

God encourages us to pray privately and personally.

“When you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen” (Matthew 6:6).

We can pray at any time.

“Pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests” (Ephesians 6:18).

 

What kinds of prayers can we pray?

Requests for ourselves.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Philippians 4:6).

Requests for others (including enemies!).

“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercessions and thanksgiving be made for all people” (1 Timothy 2:1).

“I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44).

For our physical needs.

“Give us today our daily bread” (Matthew 6:11).

For our spiritual needs.

“… hallowed (holy) be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, forgive us our sins, lead us not into temptation, deliver us from evil” (Matthew 6:9-13).

Giving thanks.

“Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good. His love endures forever” (Psalm 136:1).

Offering praise.

“I will praise you, LORD, with all my heart” (Psalm 138:1).

How can we pray?

Jesus taught us to pray the LORD’s prayer.

“Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.” (traditional version based on Matthew 6:9-13).

We can also pray with words from others.

“Take words with you and return to the LORD” (Hosea 14:2).

We can prayer with our own words.

“In bitterness of soul Hannah wept much and prayed to the LORD” (1 Samuel 1:10).

“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans” (Romans 8:26)

 

RESOURCES:

Here is a worksheet to help you form your own prayers.

You can find prayers in the Bible (e.g., the Psalms), in a hymnal, and in prayer or devotional books.

You will also find prayers for many occasions on our prayer page.

 

Wherever, whenever and however we pray, God promises:

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7).

God bless you as you talk to him from your heart!