Examples of Prayer in the Bible
From Adam talking to God in the garden to Paul praising God while bound in prison, examples of prayer in the Bible can be found in every book. The importance of prayer is written throughout the Bible for our benefit and to encourage us in the most important relationship we have.
I tried to categorize examples of prayer in the Bible and also keep it to a minimum because this topic could get lengthy! The categories are stories of prayer in the Bible, prayers of praise in the Bible, and then a short study on prayers in the Bible found in Psalms. David is one of my favorite examples of prayer as he openly wrote his heart out to God in full confidence that he was being heard.
Stories of Prayer in the Bible
It is hard to choose a favorite for stories of prayer in the Bible because they are all amazing and applicable to us in our various situations through life.
We meet Hannah as she is greatly distressed. She has not been able to conceive a child and she is weeping before God from the pain of an empty womb. She promises God that if He gives her a son, she would give him back for His service.
Eli, the high priest sees her and accuses her of being drunk. After she explains her heartache, he tells her that God will grant her the desire of her heart. She believes him and goes away happy. And God does give her a son, whom she names Samuel.
When Samuel is old enough, Hannah keeps her promise and brings him to live at the tabernacle with Eli. She reminds Eli who she is and how God had answered her prayer. Her prayer of praise to God pours out of a truly thankful heart!
“My heart rejoices in the Lord;
My horn is exalted in the Lord.
I smile at my enemies,
Because I rejoice in Your salvation.
“No one is holy like the Lord,
For there is none besides You,
Nor is there any rock like our God. (1 Samuel 2:1-2 NKJV)
James tells us that it was Elijah’s prayer that caused the drought in the land of Israel.
The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit. (James 5:16-18)
But when I think of Elijah and prayer, I think of everyone gathered together at Mount Carmel. Here Elijah is faced off with the priests of Baal. Who is the true God. The people watch breathless and the priests call out to their false God, cutting themselves, and chanting. Baal remains silent.
Elijah taunts the priests. “Perhaps your god is asleep”. They cry all the louder. Baal remains silent.
Now it is Elijah’s turn. the people watch as he prepares an altar with 12 stones. He digs a ditch around the altar and fills it with water. He carefully prepares the sacrifice as God had commanded the people to do over a thousand years prior.
Can you feel the tension in the air? Elijah prays:
“Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that You are God in Israel and I am Your servant, and that I have done all these things at Your word. Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that You are the Lord God, and that You have turned their hearts back to You again.” (1 Kings 18:36-37)
The people wait, holding their breath. God answers Elijah’s prayer as fire pours down from heaven consuming the sacrifice, stones, and water in the ditch.
The people fall on their faces “The Lord, He is God. The Lord, He is God”
No post on examples of prayer in the Bible would be complete without the prayer Jesus gives us as an example.
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen. (Matthew 6:9-13)
In this model prayer, Jesus praises his father and asks for assistance, touching on the everyday struggles we encounter.
Prayers of Praise in the Bible
The Bible is full of prayers of praise. Praise when God delivers them with mighty works as well as praise when they are down-trodden and God provides strength.
God has just unleashed his power on Egypt with a dozen plagues, ending with the death of the first born. The people of Egypt are anxious to get rid of the Israelites and their God. Pharoah, however, is angry and determined the prove that he is just as great as this spiritual being of which he cannot see.
He and his army chase the freed slaves to the banks of the Red Sea where God delivers His children by parting the waters. The army tries to cross on dry ground as well only to have the waters flow back and drowned them all. The people sing this prayer of praise.
“I will sing to the Lord,
For He has triumphed gloriously!
The horse and its rider
He has thrown into the sea!
The Lord is my strength and song,
And He has become my salvation;
He is my God, and I will praise Him;
My father’s God, and I will exalt Him.
The Lord is a man of war;
The Lord is His name.
Pharaoh’s chariots and his army He has cast into the sea;
His chosen captains also are drowned in the Red Sea.
The depths have covered them;
They sank to the bottom like a stone.
“Your right hand, O Lord, has become glorious in power;
Your right hand, O Lord, has dashed the enemy in pieces. (Exodus 15:1-6)
One of my favorite prayers of praise in the Bible is that of Mary. This young girl has been told unimaginable news. She goes to visit her cousin Elizabeth, who has also received her own miracle.
Elizabeth is excited to see Mary and little John leaps in her womb. Mary offers a beautiful prayer of praise.
“My soul magnifies the Lord,
And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant;
For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.
For He who is mighty has done great things for me,
And holy is His name.
And His mercy is on those who fear Him
From generation to generation.
He has shown strength with His arm;
He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
He has put down the mighty from their thrones,
And exalted the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
And the rich He has sent away empty.
He has helped His servant Israel,
In remembrance of His mercy,
As He spoke to our fathers,
To Abraham and to his seed forever.” (Luke 1:46-55)
Prayers in the Bible: Psalms
I have often felt that the book of Psalms is a journal. You can hear the heartache, confusion, hope, and praise of the men who penned it. Much like us, right? While you could divide the Psalms into many different categories (and people have) for this study on examples of prayer in the Bible, I chose three topics: repentance, praise, and confidence.
Prayers of Repentance
David is known as “a man after God’s own heart”. Why? He was far from perfect. I believe it is because He was humble. this psalm is written after one of his greatest transgressions. Not only does he lust after a married woman, but he has her husband put to death. God is angry at David and sends Nathan, the prophet, to tell him so.
How does David respond? He repents.
Have mercy upon me, O God,
According to Your lovingkindness;
According to the multitude of Your tender mercies,
Blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
And cleanse me from my sin.
For I acknowledge my transgressions,
And my sin is always before me.
Against You, You only, have I sinned,
And done this evil in Your sight—
That You may be found just when You speak,
And blameless when You judge.
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
And in sin my mother conceived me.
Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts,
And in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom.
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Make me hear joy and gladness,
That the bones You have broken may rejoice.
Hide Your face from my sins,
And blot out all my iniquities.
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from Your presence,
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. (Psalm 51:1-11)
David begins this Psalm with an expression of gratitude that God forgives.
Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven,
Whose sin is covered.
Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity,
And in whose spirit there is no deceit.
When I kept silent, my bones grew old
Through my groaning all the day long.
For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me;
My vitality was turned into the drought of summer. Selah
I acknowledged my sin to You,
And my iniquity I have not hidden.
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,”
And You forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah (Psalm 32:1-5)
Prayers of Praise
The Psalms are full of praise! It is almost impossible to just pick a couple!
It is good to give thanks to the Lord,
And to sing praises to Your name, O Most High;
To declare Your lovingkindness in the morning,
And Your faithfulness every night,
On an instrument of ten strings,
On the lute,
And on the harp,
With harmonious sound.
For You, Lord, have made me glad through Your work;
I will triumph in the works of Your hands.
O Lord, how great are Your works!
Your thoughts are very deep.
A senseless man does not know,
Nor does a fool understand this.
When the wicked spring up like grass,
And when all the workers of iniquity flourish,
It is that they may be destroyed forever.
But You, Lord, are on high forevermore.
For behold, Your enemies, O Lord,
For behold, Your enemies shall perish;
All the workers of iniquity shall be scattered.
Do you feel as if you praise God like David? I fear I am lacking in this department. My favorite verse in this Psalm is verse 8!
I will extol You, my God, O King;
And I will bless Your name forever and ever.
Every day I will bless You,
And I will praise Your name forever and ever.
Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised;
And His greatness is unsearchable.
One generation shall praise Your works to another,
And shall declare Your mighty acts.
I will meditate on the glorious splendor of Your majesty,
And on Your wondrous works.
Men shall speak of the might of Your awesome acts,
And I will declare Your greatness.
They shall utter the memory of Your great goodness,
And shall sing of Your righteousness.
The Lord is gracious and full of compassion,
Slow to anger and great in mercy.
The Lord is good to all,
And His tender mercies are over all His works. (Psalm 145:1-9)
Prayers of Confidence
In prayers of confidence, the Psalmists profess their faith and declare that God will have mercy, protect, or provide for them and others.
Arise, O Lord!
O God, lift up Your hand!
Do not forget the humble.
Why do the wicked renounce God?
He has said in his heart,
“You will not require an account.”
But You have seen, for You observe trouble and grief,
To repay it by Your hand.
The helpless commits himself to You;
You are the helper of the fatherless.
Break the arm of the wicked and the evil man;
Seek out his wickedness until You find none.
The Lord is King forever and ever;
The nations have perished out of His land.
Lord, You have heard the desire of the humble;
You will prepare their heart;
You will cause Your ear to hear,
To do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed,
That the man of the earth may oppress no more. (Psalm 10:12-18)
In this Psalm, David confesses that he puts his trust in God and that God is providing for him.
Preserve me, O God, for in You I put my trust.
O my soul, you have said to the Lord,
“You are my Lord,
My goodness is nothing apart from You.”
As for the saints who are on the earth,
“They are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight.”
Their sorrows shall be multiplied who hasten after another god;
Their drink offerings of blood I will not offer,
Nor take up their names on my lips.
O Lord, You are the portion of my inheritance and my cup;
You maintain my lot.
The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places;
Yes, I have a good inheritance.
I will bless the Lord who has given me counsel;
My heart also instructs me in the night seasons.
I have set the Lord always before me;
Because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved. (Psalm 16:1-8)
Examples of Prayer in the Bible
Isn’t examples of prayer in the Bible a large subject? I feel as if there is so much more to say about it! Which stories or verses speak to you? Do you turn to the Psalms often and allow them to pray for you? How generous is our God to provide us with such insight to connect us with Him!
- Examples of Prayer in the Bible
- Prayer of Adoration- Who is God to You?
- Praying the Psalms- 6 Amazing Tips on Praying the Psalms
Hi, I’m Heather from Lessons from Home. I’m in love with my five kids, homeschooling, and all things chocolate. At lessons from home I share my homeschooling and parenting journey along with the lessons God teaches me as I learn to follow Him wherever He leads. Healing from loss is a major part of my story as my family walks the dark path of grief after losing my beautiful 8 year old daughter.
Wednesday 21st of April 2021
Hi Heather, thanks for the prayers, I had to do a speak on the next date, could not get my speak together, only had 30 minutes, God took me in another direction and I came across your prayers, I come not summarized the pray of Solomon, thanks again
Tuesday 7th of July 2020
Love this, Heather. You included some of my favorite prayers. Thanks!
Wednesday 8th of July 2020
Leanna, I'm so glad! Encouraging, aren't they?