What is Prayer?

What is Prayer?

How often do you tell someone you will pray for them and send off a quick prayer with few details because you know God already has the details, or maybe forget to pray for that situation altogether?

Do you ever feel you don’t want to “burden” others with asking for them to pray for your needs because there are others who deserve prayer more or who are in a worse situation than you are?  I don’t know how others feel about prayer, but I believe it is a privilege to pray for others.  When someone shares a deep need or hurt they are experiencing, they are opening themselves up to you and counting on you to go to the Father on their behalf and spend time talking with Him about your need.

Have we changed what prayer means in society today?

In the dictionary prayer is defined as a devout petition to God or an object of worship; a spiritual communion with God or an object of worship as in supplication, thanksgiving, adoration or confession.

I want to look at what a “devout petition” is.  In this same dictionary devout is defined as “devoted to divine worship or service; pious; religious; expressing devotion or piety; earnest or sincere; hearty.  Petition is defined as “ a request made for something desired, especially a respectful or humble request as to a superior or to one of those in authority, a supplication or prayer.

There are several things we need to note about prayer:

1.      It isn’t promised that we will get what we ask for in prayer.  Sometimes the answer is no, and sometimes, not now.

2.      Prayer is to include not just those things we are asking for, but also a time of adoring the Creator and thanking Him for not just what He has done, but who He is.  Also confessing when we have missed the mark.

3.      Also, notice that we are to come into prayer with an attitude of respect because we are approaching the Creator, the One who gives us everything we have.  The God of the universe.  We are to come to the One in authority respectful and humble, not haughty and expecting Him to give us everything we want.

Does this change your attitude about prayer?


To answer some of our thoughts on prayer lets see what God says about prayer:

Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.                                 

James 5:16 ESV

Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

Galatians 6:2 ESV

When we feel we shouldn’t share our hurts and needs with others, God says we are to do that but the Word also mentions a righteous person.  We aren’t to necessarily share everything with everyone.  Ask God for someone trustworthy you can share with. 

We are to bear one another’s burdens.  It fulfills the law of Jesus Christ!


We are commanded to pray for one another:

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people,

1 Timothy 2:1 ESV

We are told to pray continually:

Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,

Ephesians 6:18 ESV


Pray without ceasing,

1 Thessalonians 5:17 ESV

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.

Romans 12:12 ESV


We are told to pray even when we don’t have the words to say because the Holy Spirit knows:

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

Romans 8:26-27 ESV

We are told that prayer will redeem us:

If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

2 Chronicles 7:14 ESV


We are told how to pray…from the heart for God to hear, not man to hear and judge:

“And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words.

Matthew 6:7 ESV

We are told who to pray for:

But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,

Matthew 5:44 ESV


First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior,

1 Timothy 2:1-3 ESV


So why am I sharing all this about prayer?  I have always had a different idea of prayer than many people do, and I want to share what God says and encourage you to pray.  We all need prayer of others to encourage us, inspire us, and to raise us up to the Father. 

Does the Father need to hear prayers about us to be talked into healing us, helping us, or encouraging us?  No.  He already knows what we need and what He will do.  He already knows who He is and how amazing and glorious He is.  He loves it when we tell Him, but trust me, He already knows.

Then why should we pray for others and have others pray for us?

WE NEED IT!  We need to give our time, money and talents to God, we also need to to spend time with Him adoring Him and asking Him to help us and those around us who need His touch, not for Him, or even for them, but for us.

What do I mean?  When I pray for you, I am sharing my heart with the Creator and coming to Him with confidence that He will know just what to do and He will do what is right for His kingdom in this situation.  It bolsters my belief and confidence in Him the more I pray.

So, Pick up your notebook, your gratitude journal, and jot down your prayers, your adoration, your thankfulness, and share with Him to grow your faith and confidence in Him and His ability to take care of you and your loved ones.


So how can I pray for you today?


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