Following are verses that reveal God's will for prayer. Please note that these verses, unless clearly stated otherwise, are binding upon all Christians. This list is far from exhaustive - there are many other verses in the Bible that reveal God's will for prayer. But this list does give an idea of the scope of prayer that pleases God: praise, confession, petition, and intercession for the lost, for the nations of the world, and for His Church. (These verses are from pages 191-193 of PRAYING IN THE WORD OF GOD: Advancing Christ's Kingdom by Kathie Grant.)
1. Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. (Col. 4:2)
2. Pray continually. (1Th. 5:17 )
3. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. (Eph. 6:18)
4. Then Jesus told His disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. (Luke 18:1)
5. I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer, without anger or disputing. (1Tim. 2:8)
6. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. (Matt. 6:6)
7. I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone - for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. (1Tim. 2:1-4)
8. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (Phil. 4:6)
9. Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. (James 5:13)
10. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. (James 5:16)
11. Pray for those who persecute you, (Matt. 5:44 )
12. Ask of Me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession. (Psa. 2:8)
13. Be... faithful in prayer. (Rom. 12:12 )
14. Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. (Mark 14:38 )
15. And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight. (Phil. 1:9)
16. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem : "May those who love you be secure. May there be peace within your walls and security within your citadels." (Psa. 122:6-7)
17. As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by failing to pray for you. (1 Sam.12:23 )
18. If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. (2 Chr. 7:14)
19. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints, and His incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of His mighty strength. (Eph. 1:19)
20. Pray in the Holy Spirit. (Jude 1:20)
21. Be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray. (1 Pet. 4:7)
22. With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may count you worthy of His calling, and that by His power He may fulfill every good purpose of yours and every act prompted by your faith. (2 Th. 1:11 )
23. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message,.Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. (Col. 4:3-4)
24. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please Him in every way. (Col. 1:10)
25. We have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of His will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. (Col. 1:9)
26. Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise - the fruit of lips that confess His name. (Heb. 13:15)
27. I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. (Eph. 3:17)
28. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge - that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (Eph. 3:17-19)
29. Sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. (Col. 3:16)
30. Therefore let everyone who is godly pray to You while You may be found. (Psa. 32:6)
31. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him. (Matt. 6:7-8)
32. Praise the Lord. Praise God in His sanctuary; praise Him in His mighty heavens. Praise Him for His acts of power; praise Him for His surpassing greatness. Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord. (Psa. 150:1,2,6)
33. 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. Selah. (Psa. 32:5)
34. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)
35. Then He said to His disciples, "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into His harvest field." (Matt. 9:37-38)
DEFINING THE CONCEPTS OF SIN, CONFESSION AND INTERCESSION
(Following are excerpts from the introduction to The Confession of Sin Section in PRAYING IN THE WORD OF GOD: Advancing Christ's Kingdom by Kathleen Grant.)
What Is Sin?
Sin is unbelief in and disobedience to the God of the Holy Scriptures.
All sin springs from not acknowledging or honoring God.
In Romans, God tells us through the apostle Paul:
For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—His eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. (Rom. 1:20, 21)
And in the book of Hebrews, God tells us how we must come to Him:
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him. (Heb.11:6)
The first of the Ten Commandments expresses this same truth: "You shall have no other gods before Me." (Ex. 20:3) The root of all sin, therefore, is unbelief:
This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. (Rom. 3:22-24)
Not only is the way to God initially by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; it is also the way we are to continue to come to Him:
"The righteous will live by faith" (Rom. 1:17).
All sin springs from an improper relationship with God. Jesus said,
"'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment" (Matt. 22:37,38)
In Revelation 2:4-5, God tells us through the apostle John,
"Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen!" (emphasis added).
God, who is our creator and the creator of all things (Rev. 4:11), requires our love and devotion and has given His Son in order to bring us into a love relationship with Himself. It is through Christ—and only through Christ—that we are able to find and live in the love of God.
How does loving God express itself? Jesus said:
"Whoever has My commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves Me. He who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him… "If anyone loves Me, he will obey My teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him." (John 14:21,23)
Genuine faith in and love for Jesus Christ is expressed in obedience to God's commands.
We know that we have come to know Him if we obey His commands. The man who says, "I know Him," but does not do what He commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But if anyone obeys His word, God's love is truly made complete in him. (1 John 2:3-5)
What Is Confession of Sin, and Why Does God Require It?
To confess sin means to agree with God that one has failed to love and obey Him by faith in Jesus Christ. Someone who confesses his sin is acknowledging his guilt (Lev. 5:5; Psa. 32:5). It is the specific ministry of the Holy Spirit to convict of sin through the Scriptures, because it is through the Scriptures that we become conscious of sin (John 16:8; 17:17 ; Rom. 3:20 ). God requires us to confess our sin — to agree with Him about it — in order to deliver us from it. He gave His Son to deliver us from bondage to sin, that we might be slaves of God:
But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. (Rom. 6:22 )
Therefore, while it is true that whoever has received salvation as a gift of grace from God by faith in Jesus Christ has been made forever perfect, it is also true that we are in the process of being made holy (Heb. 10:10, 14). In Hebrews 10:14, God tells us, "…by one sacrifice [Christ] has made perfect forever those who are being made holy." This verse contrasts our position in Christ (our being made perfect forever through faith in Him) with our walk with Him over a lifetime (our being made holy through that same faith). 1 John 3:6 says, "No one who lives in Him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen Him or known Him."
Yet listen to 1John 1:8-10:
If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make Him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.
God is plainly telling us that while Christians should not continue in patterns of sin because they have been delivered from the power of sin and of law, they will still sin (Rom. 6:4-8, 18, 22; 7:4-6). When they do sin, they need to confess it in order to receive forgiveness and purification from God. Therefore, confession is essential to maintaining fellowship with God, not right standing before God.
In 1John 1:9, God is called "faithful" and "just" to forgive us when we confess (that is, when we agree with Him that we have transgressed His commandments) because Jesus has already paid for that sin by His death on the cross. God is therefore faithful to the work of His Son. He does not punish us because Christ was already punished. But He does require confession so that we might once again enjoy fellowship with Him. God cannot fellowship with those who break His commandments (Isa. 59:2; John 14:21 )! Personal confession, as commanded in 1 John 1:9, therefore includes the concept of repentance: a genuine sorrow to God for sinning and a genuine desire not to sin again (2 Cor. 7:9,10; Matt. 5:3,4).
Why Is Personal Confession of Sin So Important for Those Who Want Their Prayers Answered?
According to Scripture, God only hears the prayers of the righteous and it is the prayers of the righteous person that God answers:
But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear. (Isa. 59:2)
The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. (James 5:16b)
"For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and His ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil." (1 Peter 3:12)
Moreover, the Lord's promises to believers about answered prayer are conditional upon their obeying His commands: "If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you." (John 15:7). We will not remain in Him unless we obey His commands:
"Whoever has My commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves Me. He who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him… If anyone loves Me, he will obey My teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him." (John 14:21, 23)
What Scriptural Support Is There for Interceding for the Sins of Other People?
While only Christ actually intercedes for the world (all of humanity) since He "made intercession for the transgressors." (Isa. 53:12), "…is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world." (1 John 2:2), and "…gave Himself as a ransom for all men…" (1 Tim. 2:6) and especially for those who believe (John 17:9; 1 Tim. 4:10 ), the validity of human intercession for others through prayer is illustrated in both the Old and New Testaments.
When we intercede on behalf of the sins of others, we are not absolving anyone of guilt. God holds each person accountable for his own sin (Ezek.18:4; Jer. 31:30). The only way one can be absolved of guilt for sin is through his own repentance. Therefore, when we intercede on behalf of the sins of others, we are asking God to enable them to come to their own repentance.
This role of the intercessor that has largely been lost or insufficiently appropriated by believers today. God has made us to be a royal priesthood:
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light. (1 Peter 2:9)
"You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth." (Rev. 5:10)
In 1 Peter 2:5, God tells us, "You also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ." On what basis does this priesthood rest? It rests on the basis of our union with Christ, our High Priest:
"On that day you will realize that I am in My Father, and you are in Me, and I am in you." (John 14:20).
God the Father has placed us in Him (1 Cor. 1:30; 1 John 5:20) and invites us to enter into His presence through Him and by faith in His blood (Heb. 10:19 -23). The Lord Jesus Christ Himself promises to give us whatever we wish when we remain in Him and His words remain in us (John 15:7). Why does He make such a promise? Because when we abide in Him and He in us (John 15:5), whatever we ask is what He is asking through us! In this very real sense it is not us interceding for others at all—but rather, Christ, Himself, interceding through us.
Thus, it is not a priesthood of people interceding for other people to God, for there is one mediator between man and God, Jesus Christ (1 Tim. 2:5); rather, it is Christ interceding through us to God (Rom. 8:34 ). He inspires our prayers to be in accordance with the Word of God, and that is why He connects His words remaining in us with answering our prayers. All true prayer, therefore, originates with God, flows through us who are in Christ and obeying His commandments, and returns back to God. Such prayers will always be answered, for they are the will of God.
What the saints of the Old Testament could only look forward to (the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ), we now can look back upon, for the work is finished—and it is for all men (John 19:30 ; 1 Tim. 2:6). We now know the name of God's mercy: It is Jesus Christ. So whereas the Old Testament saints appealed to God's character (as well as to their own righteous walks with Him) as the reason why He should forgive and restore His people, we have the privilege of appealing to the sufficient work of Christ on the cross and to the excellency of His person, as well as to our position of righteousness in Him and our fellowship with Him.
Just as God answered the prayers of the Old Testament saints by bringing His people to personal and corporate conviction of sin, repentance and restoration, so will He answer our prayers. Because we pray "in Christ," appealing to His work and blood and applying both by faith to those for whom Christ died, we count upon God's enabling and inspiring each to be drawn to Jesus for Himself—both for salvation and revival through each person's own repentance.
The following are just a few of God's promises for answered prayer. Please note that almost all of them require that you meet His condition. (These are excerpts from pages 193-196 of PRAYING IN THE WORD OF GOD: Advancing Christ's Kingdom, by Kathie Grant.)
Until now you have not asked for
anything in My name. Ask and you
will receive, and your joy will
be complete. (John 16:24)
And I will do whatever you ask in
My name, so that the Son may bring
glory to the Father. You may
ask Me for anything in My name, and
I will do it. (John 14:13,14)
If you remain in Me and My words
remain in you, ask whatever you wish,
and it will be given you. (John 15:7)
fruit - fruit
you whatever you ask in My name. (John
us - whatever we
ask - we
to you. (James
Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. (Matthew 7:7, 8)
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving,present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6,7)
Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine. (Ephesians 3:20)
And the Lord said to Moses, "I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name." (Exodus 33:17)
You hear, O Lord, the desire of the afflicted; You encourage them, and You listen to their cry. (Psalms 10:17)
What the wicked dreads will overtake him; what the righteous desire will be granted. (Proverbs 10:24)
The Lord is far from the wicked but He hears the prayer of the righteous. (Proverbs 15:29)
Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear. (Isaiah 65:24)
But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. (Matthew 6:6)
Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by My Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in My name, there am I with them. (Matthew 18:19,20)
If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer. (Matthew 21:22)
Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins. (Mark 11:24 ,25)
If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him! (Luke 11:13)
And will not God bring about justice for His chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will He keep putting them off? I tell you, He will see that they get justice, and quickly. (Luke 18:7,8)
Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (Heb. 4:16)
If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault,and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord. (James 1:5-7)
Those who know Your name will trust in You, for You, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek You. (Psa. 9:10)
For He who avenges blood remembers; He does not ignore the cry of the afflicted. (Psa. 9:12)
The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; He delivers them from all their troubles. (Psa. 34:17)
Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. (Psa. 37:4)
He will respond to the prayer of the destitute; He will not despise their plea. (Psa. 102:17)
And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. (Joel 2:32)
Ask the Lord for rain in the springtime; it is the Lord who makes the storm clouds. He gives showers of rain to men, and plants of the field to everyone. (Zech. 10:1)
If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. (2 Chr. 7:14)
The Lord is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth. He fulfills the desires of those who fear Him; He hears their cry and saves them. (Psa. 145:18,19)
In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. (Prov. 3:6)
Call to Me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know. (Jer. 33:3)
We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly man who does his will. (John 9:31)
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him. (Heb. 11:6)
Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up. (James 4:10)
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. (James 5:16)
He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy. (Prov. 28:13)
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him. (Psa. 32:5)
Take the following 20 question prayer survey and find out how you are doing in prayer! Please print out these survey questions. Answers can be marked either by circling the correct number, writing in the correct number, or checking your response.
1. When do you usually have a session of prayer?
- In the morning before the day starts _________
- During the day after the morning rush _________
- During the evening _________
- Late evening, after most have gone to bed _________
- Whenever I can fit it in _________
2. In an average week, how often do you make time to have a session of prayer?
- 3-4 times
- 5-6 times
3. How long do you usually pray when you have a session of prayer?
- 3-5 minutes
- 6-10 minutes
- 10-15 minutes
- 15-20 minutes
- 20-30 minutes
- 30-60 minutes
- 1 hour or more
(For example, if you pray daily for your needs, you should mark #8 for question 4, etc.)
4. My needs and those of my family and friends ______
5. Praising God and thanking Him for all He has done ______
6. Confessing my sins to God ______
7. My own walk with the Lord ______
8. My family and extended family to follow the Lord ______
9. My pastors and the other leaders of my church ______
10. My church, members and ministries ______
11. Other churches and Christian ministries ______
12. The Church around the world ______
13. The salvation of the lost ______
14. Missionaries and evangelists ______
15. Our nation's government ______
16. All the nations of the world to belong to Christ ______
17. Revival ______
18. How satisfied are you with your prayer life? __________
(Indicate your satisfaction on a 1 to 10 scale with 1 being not satisfied at all and 10 being totally satisfied.)
19. How satisfied is God with your prayer life? ________
(Use the same 1 to 10 scale.)
20. How important do you understand prayer to be in living the Christian life? _________
(Use the same 1 to 10 scale.)
The Grants have surveyed thousands of Christians in different denominations and parts of the country. What they have found is that everywhere the results are almost identical!
Less than half of Christians pray in the morning before the day starts, most pray only 4 to 5 times a week, and 50% pray only 3 to 5 minutes when they have a session of prayer. Men pray about half the amount of time that women pray.
On average, Christians pray daily or several times a week for their needs, their families, thanking and praising God for who He is, confessing their sins, and their friends. Most are not faithfully praying for their own walk with the Lord much less their families' walk.
About once a month, Christians pray for other believers, their church, their pastors, the salvation of the lost, and our nation. Most are not faithful about praying for their churches' ministries, its members, other churches and Christian ministries. Few have a prayer list with the names of unbelievers to pray for their salvation.
The Church around the world, missionaries and evangelists, and the nations of the world are prayed for only several times a year, if at all.
Some of God's commands for prayer are: to be devoted to prayer (Col. 4:2), to pray for all the saints at all times with all kinds of prayers and requests (Eph. 6:18), to pray for all those in authority so the lost will be saved (1 Tim. 2:1-4), to pray for the nations of the world to belong to Christ (Psa. 2:8), to confess our sins (1 John 1:9), to praise Him continually (Heb. 13:15), to be faithful in prayer (Rom. 12:12) and to pray continuously (1 Th. 5:17).
Prayer is the pulse of your Christian life because
it reveals your fellowship with God and your love
for Him. Prayer is the most marvelous gift that God
has given us for through prayer we have been restored
to fellowship with God. Through Christ and His shed
blood, our sins have been removed and we are no longer
separated from God!
We have the privilege of remaining in the presence of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit all the time-hearing, asking, thanking, praising and petitioning God, but also confessing our sins in order to remain in fellowship with Him.
In addition, we have the responsibility and the privilege of becoming His partner through prayer to advance His Kingdom. Jesus said to pray, "Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven." Through our prayers, God will build up His Church in the fullness of Christ and draw out of every tribe, people, language, and nation some to belong to His beloved Son.
We invite you to get Kathie's book, PRAYING IN THE WORD OF GOD: Advancing Christ's Kingdom, from this website and to accept God's invitation to become His partner in prayer!
The book will help you to obey His will in prayer, meet His conditions for answered prayer, and claim His promises in prayer for the advancement of His Kingdom.
CLICK HERE for details of Kathie's Prayer Book, Praying in the Word of God is available for $FREE, including shipping costs.
CLICK HERE to order your book(s) today!