What is the definition of prayer?  In general terms it is petitioning a deity, usually asking for ‘things’ wanted or needed.  But what does God[1] say about prayer?    In the Old Testament, many prayers are written for us that have been spoken by prophets, priests and kings.  I sometimes use these prayers when I don’t know how or what to pray, personalizing them to the need or circumstance in my life.  Jesus, in the New Testament teaches us how we ought to pray.

Jesus, by example, took time to be alone with God, going to the mountain to pray.[2]  In another instance, he taught his disciples who were attempting to cast out a demon, that these are not cast out except by prayer and fasting.[3]  At the time he cleansed the temple of the money changers he told them His house was to be called a house of prayer for all nations.[4]

Jesus taught us that ‘whatever you ask in prayer, believing, you shall receive’.[5]  He taught us that we are not to pray to be heard by others only for the sake of appearing spiritual and enlightened.[6]

One day the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray.  He taught them this prayer; commonly called the Lord’s Prayer or the Our Father[7]

“Our Father who art in heaven”  – Where God is.

“Hallowed be thy name”  – Your name is Holy

“Thy Kingdom come thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”  – Let your will descend to us here on earth and in our lives.

“Give us this day our daily bread”  – We pray for our daily needs

“Forgive us our debts (trespasses) as we forgive our debtors (those that trespass against us)” – As you forgive us, so we forgive others.

“And lead us not into temptation” – Don’t let us be deceived or led into temptation.

“But deliver us from evil”  – Deliver us from the evil one

“For Thine is the Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory forever.”  – Your kingdom is glorious and powerful!

After Jesus’ resurrection and ascension 120 individuals were together, fasting and praying when they were baptized with the Holy Spirit and with fire.[8]  The book of Acts records instances of the congregation praying earnestly for the saints who were being persecuted.  For instance, Peter was in prison for preaching in the name of Jesus and was set free by an angel of the Lord as the people were praying.[9]  Acts chapter three tells us about Peter and John going to the temple to pray and on the way, God in the name of Jesus, healed a lame man[10].  Things happen when God’s people pray!

The epistles of the New Testament have many prayers written that are applicable for our daily lives and the lives of those we love.  But, nothing will happen if we do not pray!  Prayer is the heartbeat of the church.[11]  The congregation is only as healthy as the intercessors who pray regularly.  God’s hand cannot move on behalf of what we need, desire and require unless we pray.  Prayer is the economy of the church and without prayer we are impoverished.  We are at war!  Ephesians 6 tells us that we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities and wickedness in high places.  Want to see God move on behalf of your family, your friends, your bills due, your health and your pastor?  Pray!  Pray as individuals and as groups.  The church that does not pray is anemic, weak and dying of apathy.  The church that does not pray becomes lunch for Satan and his hordes.  The church that does not pray may be popular because of its programs, but without prayer lives are not changed and it will eventually die.

Prayer and wearing the armor of God[12] will defeat the enemy every time.  Prayer will bring you closer to God. Prayer will bring many unexpected blessings.  God knows what is best for us, and even though we may not pray ‘correctly’ God, by the Holy Spirit takes those prayers and conforms them to His will.

Books about prayer that I have found useful: “My Utmost for His Highest” a daily devotional by Oswald Chambers; “Prayer, a Holy Occupation” also authored by Oswald Chambers is a compilation of devotionals entirely about prayer.  Another excellent resource is the book “Fasting” by Jentezen Franklin and, “Could You Not Tarry?” by Larry Lea, a teaching on the Lord’s Prayer.


Be blessed,

Jane Owens

© 2014

[1] God, the eternal God, the only God, the Creator of the Universe, the God of the Holy Bible

[2] Luke 6:12

[3] Mark 9:29

[4] Mark 11:17

[5] Matthew 21:22

[6] Matthew 23:14

[7] Matthew 6:9 – 13

[8] Acts 2.  Note: it was the anniversary day of Shavuot or in Greek known as the day of Pentecost– the day on which the Torah was given by God to the Israelites at Mt Sinai.  You can read about it in Exodus 19

[9] Acts 12

[10] Acts 3

[11] By ‘church’, I mean those born from above (born again) through the name of Jesus aka Yeshua and believe He is God made flesh who lived, was crucified, buried, resurrected, ascended and makes intercession for us to the Father.

[12] Ephesians 6