Prayer can be a confusing topic- but it doesn’t have to be! Knowing all the different types of prayer can help us to pray in new and exciting ways, which can help draw us closer to God.
Prayer may seem like an overwhelming and confusing subject, but we’re here to help you out. There are many types of prayer that can work for any person; this blog post will give a basic overview of where your personal preferences lie when it comes down to the logistics involved in putting them into practice!
One important note before we start: just like I tell my kids, practice doesn’t make perfect, but practice makes progress. Prayer is a constant, ever-evolving relationship with God. Some of these ways of praying may feel weird and awkward at first, but sometimes it takes a bit of awkwardness to break through and have new ways of being closer to God.
Why pray differently than I am now?
The short answer is that if you want to see results in your prayer life, changing up the way you pray can be a huge help.
Just as you would not expect to see results in your physical fitness if you never changed your workout routine, you will not see results in your prayer life if you never change your prayer routine.
Reasons to have different types of prayer include:
- getting out of a “prayer rut”
- Finding new ways to connect with God
- Stepping out of our comfort zone, which can give us a deeper relationship with God
At the end of the day, I want to view God as both my father and my best friend. I would not have the same exact conversation with them every day. I would instead have a variety of conversations- different lengths, different reasons for conversation, and more.
What are 20 different types of prayer?
- Worshipping and praising/Adoration
- Petition (deliverance)
- Spiritual warfare
- The Lord’s Prayer
- Praying the Bible
- Praying in tongues
- Breath prayers
- Newspaper prayers
We will break down each one of these further below.
#1 Worshipping and Praising/Adoration Prayers
A worshipping prayer, or an adoration prayer, is pretty similar to how it sounds. Instead of a prayer in which it is asking God for something or other types of questions, it is a prayer that focuses on who God is.
He is powerful and mighty and amazing, and I am guilty for not praying enough just praising Him.
One of our writers wrote about using the GROW method as a prayer of adoration and I am so thankful!
Example of a worship prayer:
Lord, I want to give you the glory for everything you are. My human brain can only imagine 1/1000000th of the goodness of who you are. Thank you for being you. Let me always be in wonder of who you are. Amen.
#2 Fellowship prayer
Fellowship prayer is also known as corporate prayer, or praying together.
As Christians, it is crucial to find more ways to pray outside of simply praying alone.
For me personally, I always thought I had a great prayer life. And then I joined my first Bible study. It was all about prayer. Words cannot explain it (as it often goes with the Holy Spirit.)
When the Bible says, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Matt. 18:19–20 NIV.)” it is no joke. Mountains move when people come together in prayer.
If we look at the Book of Acts, the disciples were constantly in prayer together after Jesus had died. They were all praying together when Jesus returned to them and told them that the Holy Spirit was coming. They were also together when the Holy Spirit came.
Praying together can grow us in ways we can’t even imagine. If you need people to pray with, find our private prayer group and let us know!
Related: Opening prayer for a Bible study
#3 Prayer of Petition/Deliverance
As Christians, we can stand firm in knowing that God will meet all of our needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19 NIV.)
But it’s okay to ask God for things! God wants us to come to Him and cannot wait to hear from us. A prayer of petition is simply asking God for something that you feel you need in your life.
This website here has a list of Psalms you can pray to God when you want to petition Him.
Just keep in mind- God always knows best so His timing is best.
Similar to a prayer of petition is a prayer of deliverance. While they are not exactly the same, they can go hand in hand.
A prayer of deliverance is to ask God to deliver you from something or ask God to rescue you from something.
#4 Intercessory Prayers
An intercessory prayer means praying on behalf of someone. If you are praying for someone, this is often a prayer of intercession. This type of prayer is powerful because someone is joining you in prayer and petitioning God for you and with you.
I will pray over people often. I get excited to think that there is a world where people are praying for one another and people don’t even know it!
There is also no better feeling than when you see someone’s prayer be answered.
So how can you intercede for someone? Learn how to pray over someone below:
#5 Prophetic Prayers
Depending on how someone grew up, this type of prayer is sometimes misinterpreted, misused, or misunderstood.
Prophetic prayer is simply tuning into the Holy Spirit at a particular moment in time and then giving it a voice and action. Some may call this “speaking life” into something, but it is only when it is truly tuning in to what God wants said or done and speaking it out loud. Of course, this can be misused often.
Since we are human and we are prone to sin, many times people try to pray prophetic prayers over what they want, or what they believe a person wants, instead of what God is telling them to say or do. If someone is praying prophecy over you, keep in mind the source of where this is coming from. Is this person in tune with the Holy Spirit? Are they in God’s Word often? Is it a bold prayer, or does it line up with more of a “prosperity gospel” type of preaching?
#6 Supplication Prayers
A supplication prayer is a type of prayer that the person praying humbly asks God to provide.
This is similar to a prayer of petition we mentioned above, but how it is presented is what makes the two different. A petition prayer is a prayer that is earnestly and actively seeking God. It can be pleading and begging out to God. While both types of prayer are Biblical, a supplication prayer is one that is presented with a little more humility and graciousness.
#7 Spiritual Warfare Prayers
Spiritual warfare is the idea of us battling against evil forces which we cannot see. Most people contribute this to Satan, the fallen angel from heaven who wreaks havoc on the earth, but is banned from the kingdom of Heaven.
To pray a spiritual warfare prayer is to pray a type of prayer that rebukes evil in the world and to overcome whatever Satan throws at us with God’s strength and power and might.
Here are some articles to further dive into what a spiritual warfare prayer is:
3 Short Prayers for Spiritual Stability in an Unstable World
#8 Confession/Repentance Prayers
A confession prayer, also called a prayer of repentance, is a three-fold prayer. The three biggest parts of this type of prayer are to:
- acknowledge the sins that we have done
- repent to God and ask Him to forgive us for our sins
- move forward (while walking away from the sin) with the grace God has given us to be forgiven.
I explain a prayer as three-fold because we can too easily forget all of the steps. I have been known to ask God to forgive me of my sins rather vaguely. This creates an issue because it becomes a general prayer (where my heart isn’t truly in it), and I am not acknowledging what specifically I did wrong.
When I can explain to God specifically what I did wrong, it is easier to feel forgiven after repenting. If I feel forgiven, then it is easier to move away from the sin occurring and make sure I am walking in step with God and His will over mine.
#9 Prayers of Lament
Prayers of lament are something I am actually studying currently in my Master of Divinity program. Lament is defined by Oxford Dictionary as “passionate grief or sorrow.”
Psalms of lament take up 1/3 of the entire Book of Psalms. I like to call it Biblically complaining, but I know it’s a bit more complicated than that. 🙂
A prayer of lament is a type of prayer that passionately talks to God about the pain and sorrow that one person is suffering. And guess what? God welcomes those prayers. If He didn’t, they wouldn’t be in the Bible.
Yet one big part of the Psalms of Lament is that almost all of them end in praise. So if you feel like telling God every sorrow you are feeling in a Biblical way, try to end it by praising God for who He is and what He has already done.
#10 Thanksgiving Prayers
A Thanksgiving prayer is very much as it sounds- it is a prayer that is thanking God for something. But I love how different Thanksgiving prayers are from prayers of praise.
A prayer of praise thanks God for who He is, not what He has done. A Thanksgiving prayer is much more specific in that it thanks God for specific blessings He has done in our lives or the lives of others.
A great example of this is Psalm 34. This psalm thanks God and gives specific reasons for thanking Him.
#11 Guidance Prayers
A guidance prayer is a type of prayer that asks God for both wisdom and direction.
If we seek God for both of them, not separate from each other, we can use His Word and His direction to make sure we are walking the righteous path to do His good work.
#12 The Lord’s Prayer
The Lord’s Prayer is an example of prayer that was prayed by Jesus in both Matthew and Luke (a shorter version in Luke.)
In this prayer, Jesus gives specific step-by-step guidance on how we can talk to God. This doesn’t mean this is the only way we pray, but if you are wondering what type of prayer is best for you, this is a great place to start.
#13 Agreement Prayers
An agreement prayer is when two or more people pray together in agreement over a situation. It can be known as a group petition prayer. It is when people come together, agree on what they are asking God for, and then pray about it.
I do this with one of my great friends. We have a running Google Docs over prayer requests. We also pray over the Voxxer app. When I ask for her to pray about something, I can hear the Holy Spirit when she prays in agreement.
However, I’ve noticed that there are times that she prays over my request, and it isn’t in agreement. It’s not that she completely disagrees with me, I just don’t hear the peace in her voice when she prays it. I know that God is not the author of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33) so when I don’t hear the praying in agreement, it brings me back to God to check to see if my prayer is actually aligning with His will.
This is how agreement prayers can be powerful. Not only is it people coming together to pray for each other, but people can also keep each other in check. Even Jesus did this when he asked people to pray with him (you know, until they fell asleep. Oops.)
#14 Praying the Bible Prayers
To pray the Bible is to pray in agreement with the Bible, which is a type of prayer that I didn’t even know existed until I met Alonda Tanner from lotanner.com. She explained this prayer to me one day when I was stumbling over the words to pray.
This blew my mind when I was still newer to prayer. Here I was, trying to come up with my own prayers and feeling like I was falling short all the time, just to realize that there are prayers upon prayers in the Bible! Where there is God’s word, there is an ability to turn it into a prayer.
Now, whenever I do Bible reading, I try to create a prayer that agrees with what I just read. An example of this would be after reading the Psalm 34 example I gave above, writing out a prayer that switches some of the pronouns/words to turn it into a personal prayer.
#15 Praying in Tongues
Praying in tongues is a heavily debated prayer type, and we’re not here to cause controversy or do a deep dive into both sides of the praying in tongue debate.
Praying in tongues is regarded by many as a gift from the Holy Spirit to pray in an unknown prayer language. In other words, it is a supernatural way to pray to God.
It comes up in the Bible for the first time in Acts 2, on the Day of Pentecost, when the apostles were filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke in languages that they did not know. Many say that Ephesians 6:18 discuss praying in tongues as well when it says to “pray in the spirit.”
#16 Dedication Prayers
A dedication prayer is to dedicate a specific thing to God. Most often, when we pray a dedication prayer, we are praying our dedication to God.
I have prayed these prayers personally after I found myself wandering from God. The days (okay, sometimes weeks) that I suddenly snap out of it and realize I haven’t had time with God in a while, and my life has wandered from Him. A dedication prayer is a type of prayer that enables me to get back into focus and truly give it all to God. As John 3:30 ESV says, “He must increase but I must decrease.”
#17 Blessing Prayers
A blessing prayer is to ask for God’s favor, or blessing, over a specific part of your life or someone else’s life. A popular blessing prayer from the Bible is from Numbers 6:24-26:
“The LORD bless you and keep you; The LORD make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you; The LORD lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace.”
When we ask God to bless a specific part of our lives, may we remember that we do it to further enhance His kingdom, not our kingdom on Earth.
#18 Breath Prayers
A breath prayer is a type of prayer that breaks down a Bible verse into breaths. It can help us when we are frazzled or stressed to bring it back to God and rely on God’s inner peace rather than our own.
A great example is:
[Breathe in.] The Lord is my shepherd
[Breathe out] I shall not want.
Doing this with a short Bible verse can help us re-orient ourselves when our emotions try to beat us growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior (2 Peter 3:18.)
Rachel from Holistic Faith Lifestyle has a great video that leads you through breath prayers.
We also include breath prayers for kids in our Prayer for Kids Bundle!
#19 Newspaper Prayers
This one may sound outdated (my son asked me what a newspaper was last week) but stick with me here.
I was introduced to this type of prayer in my first semester of seminary by a professor. She said every night she would read the newspaper every night, and turn each article she read into prayer. It was her way of praying for her country and the world.
I don’t know about you, but I haven’t received an actual newspaper since the 90s. But I do have a news app that I turn the notifications off. This allows me to get the news once a day, on my own terms, and be able to pray about it instead of letting it seep negativity into my life.
#20 Listening Prayers
I don’t know if I’m supposed to have favorite types of prayers, but if I am, this is definitely mine.
It may be my favorite because I avoided it for so long. For so much of my life, I constantly prayed to God like a genie and forgot to actually listen for His responses.
I was praying over a tough situation for months one time, not knowing which decision to make. Finally, I felt a nudge from God that said, Hey, would you like my opinion? (God probably isn’t sarcastic like I am, but that is what the nudge felt like to me.) So I stopped and tried my best to still my mind. Every time I would lose focus, I would pray a breath prayer and redirect myself. It turns out that God didn’t want me to make a decision yet. I felt peace after listening to God. More than anything, I encourage listening prayers to be just as often as all the other types of prayer combined.
Our God is a powerful God. I get overwhelmed that a God that controls everything can reach out to us through His Word and through prayer. Hopefully, these types of prayers can help you on your journey with God. Reach out below to let us know how this helped or what information we can provide.
Jessie Synan is a Master’s student in Theological Studies who helps other women find their prayer focus in a distracting world. She went from her ADHD interfering with her prayer life to finding her own unique rhythms for prayer and encouraging other women to do the same. She is the founder of Pray With Confidence, which has helped over 5000 women focus on prayer through the real and vulnerable advice she gives to those on her email list when they sign up for the free guide “How to pray [when you can’t focus.]”