Have you ever wondered how many answered prayers are recorded in Scripture? Or perhaps, how much Paul or Jesus talks about prayer? Do you have to close your eyes and kneel when you pray? These questions and more are answered this week on The Gospel Coalition, as Joe Carter explains 9 Things You Should Know About Prayer in the Bible.
According to Carter’s research,
1. There are 650 prayers listed in the Bible. (Here is the entire list and where they can be found.)
2. There are approximately 450 recorded answers to prayer in the Bible.
Points #4 and #7 mention that the Bible records Jesus praying 25 different times, and that when he teaches others how to pray, he instructs that we focus on
God’s everlasting glory (“hallowed be thy name”)
God’s eternal will (“thy kingdom come”)
Provision for our present circumstances (“give us this day our daily bread”)
Forgiveness for our past deeds (“forgive us our sins”), and
Deliverance for our future (“lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil”)
(Click here to read the full article, including points on the first instance of prayer, Paul’s teaching on prayer, the physical postures of prayer, 9 main types of prayer, and the use of the word “amen” in Scripture)
Obviously, Scripture has a lot to say about prayer! But what are some common, modern ways we struggle with prayer, and how can we find answers within these passages?
One issue Mike Fabarez discusses is Jesus’ warning: Don’t Heap up Empty Phrases in Prayer. Fabarez reminds us,
We must be so careful when we bow our heads to pray, or lift our voices to sing. God is not impressed when we utter mere words such as “Praise the Lord!” or “Hallelujah!” He is looking for worshippers whose spirits (i.e., minds, hearts, and thoughts) are engaged in expressing the meaning of those words (cf. John 4:23). It is easy to melodically recite lyrics of Christian songs, but it takes concentration, sincerity and thoughtfulness to truly worship in song. We should never hide behind fine sounding words while our minds wander through a set of thoughts about something else.
When our prayers are genuine and substantial, and not just empty words, they can be extremely powerful. Debbie Przybylski expounds on The Power of a Praying Church:
There is supernatural power released when the Church in the city prays. What is needed in the worldwide Church at this hour is a unified, praying Church. We need supernatural power. Only the power of God will defeat the attacks of the enemy in our cities. When the Church in a city or region decides to drop its own agendas and decides to come together to pray, there is great spiritual power released into the atmosphere. Prayer will affect everything! It will affect time, places, occasions, and circumstances. A praying Church within the city brings success and supernatural power into that region.
How can we unleash the power of prayer, not only in our personal lives, but in our cities anc communities? Przybylski writes that we must 1) make prayer a priority, 2) expect God to work, and 3) seek for unity among churches in our city.
Fervent prayer will release God’s destiny for our cities. Be willing to persevere in prayer with a holy determination. Determine not to let go of God until He breaks through. Become desperate for God.
… Remember that God doesn’t need a majority, but He only needs a few churches coming together with hungry hearts for the cause of revival and transformation of the city. The presence of God will bring supernatural unity as we cry out to Him for it. Only together will we see the results that God wants. Seek to unite with other churches in prayer for transformation.
Do you have more questions about prayer? Check out Crosswalk’s Prayer channel, or visit PrayWithMe.com to download a free prayer app for your mobile device that connects you to prayer warriors around the world!
Debbie Holloway is the Family Life Editor at Crosswalk.com
Publication date: May 8, 2015