Prayer is one of the most intimate ways we can connect to God. In prayer we share our feelings, our thoughts, our deepest concerns and fears, and what we are most grateful for in life. When we spend time in prayer, we hear from God and make space for the Spirit to guide our steps and transform our hearts. Scripture teaches that God is truly just a prayer away, and what a privilege it is for us to be so close to God.
One fascinating feature of prayer is that it is unique between every person and God. No one prays quite the same. Each of us may find ourselves praying in a different way depending on the situation, the need, or what we have to say to God. You may wonder how many different types of prayers there are. We can look to Scripture to discover at least ten notable kinds of prayers.
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What Does the Bible Say about Prayer?
Having a vibrant prayer life is often cited as a significant spiritual practice among followers of Jesus. In fact, when we read about the life of Jesus, we discover that he made prayer a priority. We learn from Jesus how meaningful time for prayer is to the life of a believer.
“Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed” (Luke 5:16).
Scripture affirms the concept of praying not only individually, but also as a community. Praying with others becomes a powerful way to lift up our voices to the Lord and to share our petitions with God as the body of Christ. When we pray, we often do so by ourselves, but we are encouraged to pray with others, as well.
“Jesus said, ‘For where two or three gather together in my name, I am there with them’” (Matthew 18:20).
Throughout Scripture, those who devoted themselves to God made prayer a part of their spirituality. Adam and Eve talked to God. Abraham spoke to God. Moses prayed as he led the Israelites. Esther fasted and prayed. Daniel prayed in the lion’s den. There are many instances of God’s people spending time in prayer. It is no wonder that when we look at the scope of the Bible, we realize it teaches us to commit ourselves to prayer.
“Devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word” (Acts 6:4).
An amazing moment during Jesus’ earthly ministry is when he gave the sermon on the mount. During this sermon found in the Gospel of Matthew, we learn from Jesus how to pray. The Lord’s prayer is an amazing guide for us as believers. Prayer doesn’t need to be wordy or impressive or polished, it just needs to be honest and real.
“[Jesus said,] ‘This, then, is how you should pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one’” (Matthew 6:9-13).
Are There Different Ways to Pray?
The Bible is full of robust prayers that are said for a variety of reasons and circumstances. We get amazing glimpses of vibrant prayer lives in individuals and communities throughout God’s word.
Prayer is powerful, it is intimate, and it changes the hearts of those who pray regularly by drawing us closer to God. There are many types of prayers and we find evidence of this in the Bible. Some prayers may be motivated by a need for healing, help, or a grateful heart. Other prayers are a result of considering and declaring the grandiosity of God.
Whatever the kind of prayer we bring to God, what’s most important is that we make prayer a priority because it is how we fellowship with God and develop a personal relationship with him.
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10 Different Prayers in the Bible
1. Prayer of Adoration
This type of prayer is focused on worshiping the Lord out of deep love, respect, and admiration. These prayers come from a place of genuine awe of who the Lord is and all that he does.
“Let them praise the name of the Lord, for his name alone is exalted; his splendor is above the earth and the heavens” (Psalm 148:13).
2. Prayer of Thanksgiving
For some, beginning each day with a prayer of thanksgiving is a habit they practice. Prayers of gratitude are prompted by an answered prayer, deliverance, recognition of how good and merciful God is, or simply because we have been given another day of life.
“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. Cry out, ‘Save us, God our Savior; gather us and deliver us from the nations, that we may give thanks to your holy name, and glory in your praise’” (1 Chronicles 16:34-35).
3. Prayer of Confession
Confessing our sins is a significant way to pray as followers of Jesus. Often, Jesus called those he interacted with to confess their sins and sin no more. In the Bible, we get a glimpse of confession prayers and many reminders that God forgives those who confess their sins.
“Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.’ And you forgave the guilt of my sin” (Psalm 32:5).
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4. Prayer of Vows
Praying a promise to the Lord is a prayer that we may pray when we are making a life-changing commitment that we need God’s strength, guidance, and help to fulfill. Perhaps we vow to the Lord never to drink alcohol, or to abstain from premarital sex, or to live in a certain righteous way that is pleasing to the Lord. A pledge to God, just as we see in Hannah’s vow, should be followed through, and made with great consideration and certainty.
“In her deep anguish Hannah prayed to the Lord, weeping bitterly. And she made a vow, saying, ‘Lord Almighty, if you will only look on your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head’” (1 Samuel 1:10-11).
5. Prayer of Quiet Reflection
Prayers of silence draw us away from prayers filled with words, and into a place where we quiet ourselves down and reflect. These types of silent prayers provide us needed time to reflect on God’s goodness. This type of prayer is valuable to how we learn to hear from the Lord and allow him to guide our steps.
“On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night” (Psalm 63:6).
A prayer for healing is usually spoken when we seek restoration for our physical bodies, spiritual wholeness, or emotional wounds. A key component of Jesus’ earthly ministry was healing those who were physically ill. The Bible affirms that we can come to God asking for all types of healing.
“Heal me, O Lord, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise" (Jeremiah 17:14).
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7. Prayer for Deliverance and Help
When we are facing challenges, hardships, or oppression, we find ourselves praying for deliverance and breakthrough. We say these prayers for help because God is the one who can aid us in ways no one else ever could. In the Bible, many followers of God cried out for his intervention in this type of prayer for help and deliverance.
“Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress” (Psalm 107:6).
8. Prayer of Intercession
Praying for others is a crucial part of being part of the body of Christ. The Bible instructs us to pray for one another and to intercede on someone else’s behalf. In the Gospels, we read that Jesus prayed for others in his final hours before being arrested. The apostle Paul wrote of how he often kept other Christians and new believers in his prayers, as well.
“And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light” (Colossians 1:9-12).
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9. Prayer for Transformation
As followers of Jesus, we aim to live like him, live according to his ways, and enter into a lifelong process of sanctification. Praying for this type of transformation in our hearts, minds, and lives is purposeful and we can find these types of prayers in God’s word.
“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23-24).
10. Prayer of Blessing
Prayers of blessing are often said for visiting missionaries, or families relocating to another church, those starting a new job, or new graduates. We pray blessings over newlyweds, newborns, or even over a new house or car. Prayers of blessings are found throughout Scripture and are powerful ways to ask for God’s best to be poured out.
“And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God” (Philippians 1:9-11).
A Prayer for Every Need
Prayer is conversation with God and that conversation may differ when it comes to the motivation, meaning, and purpose. Hence, we find there are a variety of prayers in the Bible. Perhaps you have experienced in your own prayer time with God that you have used many types of the prayers similar to those listed above. We can look to the Bible to learn how to pray, to develop our prayer lives, and to allow prayer to nourish our relationship with Jesus.
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Pamela Palmer is a writer, chaplain, and the founder of upheldlife.com, the platform on which she produces weekly devotionals and faith resource articles to inspire keeping faith at the center of it all. She lives and thrives on Jesus, coffee, and music. She is in pastoral ministry and gets to share in the emotional and spiritual lives of many people, being a small piece of each journey. Pamela married the perfect man for her and they have two beautiful kiddos. She has been published on herviewfromhome.com and you can follow her at upheldlife.com, or on Facebook.com/upheldlife.