Scriptures that describe how to pray

Ravi Zacharias in his book “Has Christianity Failed You?” wrote: “I think the reason we sometimes have the false sense that God is so far away is because that is where we have put him. We have kept him at a distance, and then when we are in need and call on him in prayer, we wonder where He is. He is exactly where we left him.”

Keeping God at a distance can hinder our feeling of connection to God, and consequently we may feel that He does not hear our prayers. So how shall we view prayer?

This past week I was reading my mother’s old Bible study notes. She has a plethora of notes on a variety of subject since it was 65 or 70 years that she taught Sunday school and Bible study. One topic was on prayer and in her handwriting across the top of her study sheet was, “How does the Bible describe prayer?”

Mother made 12 points describing prayer as found in the scriptures.

First, prayer involves a bowing of the knees. “For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being.” (Ephesians 3:14)

The Bible also describes prayer as looking up. Psalm 5:3 reads: “My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.”

Third, according to scripture prayer is lifting up the soul. “Unto thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul.” (Psalm 25:1 — King James Version)

The Bible notes that prayer is lifting up the heart. “Let us lift up our heart with our hands unto God in the heavens.” (Lamentations 3:41)

Fifth, pouring out the heart is another way the Bible describes prayer. “Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah.” (Psalm 62:8)

Sixth, prayer is pouring out the soul. “And Hannah answered and said, No, my Lord, I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit… but have poured out my soul before the Lord.” (1 Samuel 1:15)

Calling on the name of the Lord is mentioned in Psalm 116:4 as part of prayer. “Then I called on the name of the Lord: ‘Lord, save me!’”. (Psalm 116:4)

Eight, prayer is crying out to God. “Hear my voice when I call, Lord; be merciful to me and answer me.” (Psalm 27:7)

Prayer is drawing near to God. “Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.” (Hebrews 10:22)

Tenth, the Bible notes that prayer is crying to heaven. “King Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz cried out in prayer to heaven about this.” (2 Chronicles 32:20)

Prayer is beseeching the Lord. “But Moses sought the favor of the Lord his God. ‘Lord,’ he said, ‘why should your anger burn against your people, whom you brought out of Egypt with great power and a mighty hand?’” (Exodus 32:11)

Twelve, prayer is seeking the face of the Lord. “My heart says of you, ‘Seek his face!’

Your face, Lord, I will seek.” (Psalm 27:8)

What is the observation from these scriptures? Pray in times of need and in times of joy and abundance. Seek the Lord because He will answer. The Psalmist wrote: “The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.” (Psalm 145:18) What a privilege to go to God in prayer!


Judy Brandon is a Clovis resident. Contact her at: