Prayer is marvelous. The idea of communicating with the Creator of the universe seems almost ludicrous. Presumptuous maybe? Not to mention intimidating.
Why would God want to talk with us? Is there a right and wrong way to pray? Why does God answer some prayers but not others? Does it matter that we only have a little faith?
Thankfully, the Bible gives us insight into the hows and whys of prayer. Since God invites us to talk with Him, it’s no surprise He gives us guidelines. I’ve compiled a list of what I consider the ten most important verses on prayer:
1. Luke 18:13-14
“And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”
Bottom line–the first step in developing a prayer life is calling upon God for salvation.
2. Psalms 66:18
“If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:”
Bottom line–we can’t live a consistently sinful lifestyle and expect God to hear our prayers.
3. Psalms 34:15
“The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry.”
Bottom line–God hears the prayers of those who put their trust in him.
4. Daniel 9:18
“…we do not present our supplications before thee for our righteousnesses, but for thy great mercies.”
Bottom line–God’s mercy, not our goodness, is the basis for answered prayers.
5. Psalms 5:3
“My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.”
Bottom line–when we pray, we can wait in eager anticipation for God to work on our behalf.
6. 1 John 5:14
“And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:”
Bottom line–God answers every prayer that aligns with his will.
7. James 4:3
“Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.”
Bottom line–God will say no to our prayers if we ask for something for the wrong reason or for the wrong purpose.
8. Matthew 26:42
“He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.”
Bottom line–we can surrender our will to God’s in complete confidence that he knows what’s best.
9. Mark 9:24
“And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.”
Bottom line–it’s not how much faith we have that matters, but who we have faith in.
10. James 5:16
“…The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”
Bottom line: The prayers of godly believers work.
I don’t know why God uses the prayers of His people to accomplish His work in the world, but I’m glad He does. I’m humbled to think we can talk to Him at any time of the day or night. I’m grateful that He’s never too busy to hear our prayers and act on our behalf.
My prayer for us all is that we will never take for granted the privilege and the power of prayer.