There are many powerful prayers in the Bible that have been made by various characters. Prayers in the Bible usually consist of prayers for protection, for strength, of thanksgiving and adoration, repentance, and many others. And all of these characters humbly surrendered themselves to God through prayers. With their faith, they saw how God worked miraculously in their lives.
All prayers in the Bible are powerful on their own. God doesn’t look at the length of our pleas and requests or how perfectly prayers were created. He doesn’t look at a person’s status in society but at the status of their hearts. God shows his unconditional love and unfailing grace to everyone who has faith in Him. The Bible is timeless and its words are our guide to life. So when we need encouragement, turn to these prayers in the Bible and be filled.
1. Jabez’s Prayer for Strength and Protection
One of the most significant and powerful prayers in the Bible is Jabez’s prayer for strength and protection in the book of Chronicles. From 1 Chronicles 4: 2-21, Jabez was mentioned as part of Judah’s genealogy. The author of Chronicles gave a short history of Jabez’s name and his short prayer to God. Although short, it was also a powerful prayer for protection. He believed that he had a great purpose to accomplish, and he asked God to help.
1 Chronicles 4:10 ‘Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request.’
Lessons We Can Learn From Jabez’s Prayer
Acknowledging God As The Center Of Our Lives
When Jabez cried to the God of Israel, he acknowledged God’s lordship over his life and declared that God is the one and only true God, and all blessings, including strength and protection, come from Him alone.
Your Name Is Not Your Identity
The name Jabez means ‘he causes pain’. But Jabez defied the testimony of his name and believed in the power of God and his identity is in God.
Come To God Vulnerable And Ask For Protection
He wholeheartedly cried out to God with boldness and vulnerability and requested that ‘[God’s] hand be with [me]’. When we ask for the ‘hand of the Lord’, what we are asking and seeking is God’s presence and protection in our lives.
A Heart To Invest In God’s Kingdom
When Jabez asked God to ‘Enlarge [his] territory’, he was not seeking wealth or more land but he wanted God to expand his spiritual territory, to claim more generations for God’s kingdom. When we pray, not only should we bring our petitions to Him, but let’s also turn our focus to God and have a heart for Him and His Kingdom.
Prayers Close To The Heart of God Will Be Answered
When Jabez prayed for the expansion of God’s Kingdom, he was putting God’s will above his own. With his faith, God answered Jabez. Similarly, when we seek God’s will above ours in faith, it is considered honorable and God will answer us. (Note: this is not to say that God does not answer our hearts’ desires or will always give the answer we seek for.)
2. Hezekiah’s Prayer for Courage and Deliverance
King Hezekiah was the 13th successor of David to rule Judah. He was a remarkable king that kept great faith in God despite being ill during his reign. Even when a group of kings was plotting to battle with Hezekiah and the Israelites, he prayed for courage and deliverance. Should anyone need a reminder of what our God can do, this is one of the most powerful prayers in the Bible.
2 Kings 19: 14-19; 34-35 14 Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers and read it. Then he went up to the temple of the Lord and spread it out before the Lord. 15 And Hezekiah prayed to the Lord: ‘Lord, the God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, you alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. 16 Give ear, Lord, and hear; open your eyes, Lord, and see; listen to the words Sennacherib has sent to ridicule the living God.
17 “It is true, Lord, that the Assyrian kings have laid waste these nations and their lands. 18 They have thrown their gods into the fire and destroyed them, for they were not gods but only wood and stone, fashioned by human hands. 19 Now, Lord our God, deliver us from his hand, so that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you alone, Lord, are God.’
Lessons We Can Learn From Hezekiah’s Prayer
In Troubling Times, Seek God First
The immediate action Hezekiah took after receiving a letter of battle that ridiculed his faith in God was to seek God in hopeful prayer and petition. Neither did Hezekiah complain nor wallow in self-pity. He simply chose God. “As a child bringing his broken toy to his father for repair, so Hezekiah laid the issues in God’s sight for resolution.” (Patterson and Austel)
Declaring Who God Is Strengthens Courage
In verses 15 to 16, Hezekiah took the time to establish and acknowledge God’s identity as the King of majesties. Watch how after Hezekiah declared God is God alone, he recognized God’s power as the maker of heaven and earth. In recognizing this power, Hezekiah’s faith and courage began rising! Likewise, when we pray, make declarations! Declarations strengthen your courage.
When You Seek for Deliverance, Remember It Is for God’s Glory
Note how Hezekiah ended off his prayer in verse 19 – “so that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you alone, Lord, are God.”. Hezekiah’s request for deliverance was not rooted in self-interest but God’s. He asks for deliverance so that God may be glorified. When we face trials and challenges, it is okay to ask for deliverance from God. But the best pleas are those for God’s honor. This is why the Lord’s prayer begins with “Hallowed be thy name” and ends with “For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, forever and ever”. All glory to our God.
When You Seek For Courage, Be Certain
When we ask God for courage and deliverance, always be certain. Do not doubt, for if we doubt, we will be like waves in the sea, blown and tossed around (James 1:6). Let us set our eyes and heart on God with unwavering faith. For God goes with us and has gone before us, so do not be afraid (Deuteronomy 31:6-8). At every trail up ahead God is already there waiting for us with open arms.
3. Hannah’s Prayer of Adoration and Praise
One of the most powerful prayers in the Bible made by women that we ought to look at is Hannah’s. Hannah was a faith-filled woman but faced the problem of barrenness, which was once considered shameful. Hannah prayed to the Lord in the temple of Shiloh for a son and vowed that she will dedicate her child to Him. The Lord granted her prayer and gave her a son whom she called Samuel. This prayer of adoration was made by Hannah in gratitude.
1 Samuel 2: 1-10 My heart rejoices in the Lord; in the Lord, my horn is lifted high. My mouth boasts over my enemies, for I delight in your deliverance. 2 “There is no one holy like the Lord; there is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God. 3 “Do not keep talking so proudly or let your mouth speak with such arrogance, for the Lord is a God who knows, and by him, deeds are weighed.4 “The bows of the warriors are broken, but those who stumbled are armed with strength. 5 Those who were full hired themselves out for food, but those who were hungry are hungry no more. She who was barren has borne seven children, but she who has had many sons pines away.
6 “The Lord brings death and makes it alive; he brings down to the grave and raises. 7 The Lord sends poverty and wealth; he humbles and he exalts. 8 He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap;
He seats them with princes and has them inherit a throne of honor. “For the foundations of the earth are the Lord’s; on them, he has set the world.
9 He will guard the feet of his faithful servants, but the wicked will be silenced in the place of darkness. “It is not by strength that one prevails; 10 those who oppose the Lord will be broken. The Highest will thunder from heaven; the Lord will judge the ends of the earth. “He will give strength to his king and exalt the horn of his anointed.”
Lessons We Can Learn From Hannah’s Prayer
Begin Your Prayers In Adoration For God
Hannah begins her prayer with adoration ‘My heart rejoices in the Lord; in my horn, the Lord is lifted high’. This is a powerful prayer and a good reminder for us that God is always worthy of our praise and adoration.
Remembering That God Is Your Only Constant
God is our only constant and stronghold (verse 2). With all the things happening around us, we can hold on to Him. Like Hannah, we should put our trust in Him. We can run close to Him with our brokenness, heart cries, and longings, and He will help us. Our trustworthy, loving, and kind Father makes all things possible. In God’s presence, we can find security.
Letting Go Of The Transgressions Others Have Made Unto You
From verses 3 to 10, Hannah was reminded of the oppression and injustice she received in the past. But instead of requesting vindication for herself, Hannah reminded that it is God who reigns sovereign and will handle the eventual judgment. She is resisting the temptation of taking justice into our own hands
In All Circumstances, Respond To God With Praise And Adoration
Be assured that God hears and answers our prayers. So, let our responses be like Hannah’s, praising and adoring our God, honoring and glorifying His name.
4. Jesus’ Prayer for Surrender and Obedience to God
Jesus’ prayer for surrender and obedience to God is a well-known prayer. This was Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane. Before Jesus fulfilled God’s plan of salvation, he prayed to God and was in great anguish over his approaching physical pain and separation from God. Though Jesus knew his crucifixion was inevitable and of God’s will, his human nature still struggled. This is a powerful prayer in the bible that we can all learn from.
Mathew 26: 38-41 Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” 39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”
40 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. 41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 42 He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may Your will be done.”
Lessons We Can Learn From Jesus’ Prayer
Jesus Can Relate To Our Anguish And Distress
When Jesus made this prayer, Jesus was showing his vulnerable side to God. He was in distress about what he was about to face – “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.” This shows that whenever we pray, Jesus can fully relate and understand. Isn’t it comforting to know that we are not alone because Jesus Christ has also been through such emotional turmoil himself?
Jesus Turned To God In Petition, Not The Disciples Who Were With Him
Jesus did not hesitate to take his petition up to God even though he knows he can talk about it to his disciples. However, Jesus knows that God is the only way and source of comfort that he needs. In times of trouble, we can always turn to our friends and family, but who we truly need is only God.
God’s Will Above Ours
We may never understand some of God’s plan for us and sometimes even wonder if God knows what is best for us. But God does. He knows what is best for us. His will and plans for us are “to prosper [us] and not to harm [us], plans to give [us] hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11). And Jesus knows this because twice, when he asked God to ‘take this cup from [him]’, Jesus reaffirmed his desire to accomplish God’s will both times. He firmly trusted God’s plan and obeyed him regardless of all his struggles. Praying for surrender and obedience is a powerful prayer we should all learn.
God’s Unconditional Love For Us
We all fall short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23). But God loves us so much that He sent His one and only son, Jesus Christ, into the world to save us from our sins. God sacrificed His son for us. It is with His love and grace that we can be here today, standing righteous before God.
5. Jesus’ Prayer for Church Unity
Another one of Jesus’ most earnest prayers in the Bible is for all believers; that they may remain united despite their differences. He prayed for unity amongst us so that the world may believe in God.
John 17: 20-23 20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”
Lessons We Can Learn From Jesus’ Prayer
Jesus Teaches Us Not To Discriminate
In his prayer for believers, Jesus acknowledged the fact that those who believed in him will be of different nations, classes, and statuses and spoke different languages. Accepting such differences shows that Jesus does not discriminate. His truth is for everyone.
Church Unity Begins With Godly Love
The benchmark for church unity is stated clearly in verse 21 – how God and Jesus are united through godly love. When we believe in the same set of beliefs, we have uniformity. But, when we share the same beliefs and can love one another despite our differences, we have unity. When we love just as God first loved us, we are then able to co-exist in perfect harmony because God is the unifying factor amongst our differences.
Church Unity Helps To Spread The Gospel
Verses 21 and 23 are bold statements in Jesus’ prayer. Essentially, Jesus permitted the world to judge the validity of God and the entirety of the Christian faith. And the yardstick of measurement is the unity of His people. Unity amongst believers and the church helps to spread the gospel.
It Is A Calling For All Believers To Remain United
The very fact that Jesus made this prayer is in itself a calling that all believers are called to obey. This is perhaps one of the most important prayers in the Bible that we as believers ought to keep in our hearts.
6. Daniel’s Prayer for Forgiveness
We may know Daniel as the person who found favor in God’s eyes and was protected after being thrown into the lion’s den. But, his powerful prayers in the bible are also commendable and one that we should all practice as well. Here, he prayed a prayer for forgiveness, confessing the sins of his people on their behalf.
Daniel 9: 4-6; 9-10;18-19 4 I prayed to the Lord my God and confessed: “Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, 5 we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws. 6 We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes, and our ancestors, and to all the people of the land.
9 The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him; 10 we have not obeyed the Lord our God or kept the laws he gave us through his servants the prophets.
18 Give ear, our God, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears your Name. We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy. 19 Lord, listen! Lord, forgive! Lord, hear and act! For your sake, my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name.”
Lessons We Can Learn From Daniel’s Prayer
Confess With A Genuine And Contrite Heart
Daniel’s prayer shows his heart clearly – he speaks humbly with a contrite heart to God as he prays. He is genuine and earnest about confessing the sins of his people as should we since this is God that we confess to.
Acknowledge The Specific Sin To Confess
As Daniel prayed from verses 5 to 6, notice he specified the sin(s) of the people. Being specific with our sins helps us acknowledge them and be accountable to God. Confessing our sins is also a form of healing prayer because it brings our darkness into the light. Hiding them without confessing results in serial sinning to the point of numbness.
Be Affirmed Of God’s Mercy
Just as Daniel prayed in verses 9 to 10, let us take comfort knowing that no depth and amount of sin can separate God’s love and mercy for us. And it is promised that when we confess and turn away from our sins, God will show us His unchanging mercy (Proverbs 28:13-14).
Ask God For Forgiveness
And finally, in verses 18-19, Daniel asks God to forgive his people all while understanding that they are not deserving of forgiveness. Daniel asked for forgiveness boldly not because of his righteousness but because of God’s grace and mercy. Likewise, when we ask for forgiveness, know in our hearts that it is not by our strength or works that we are forgiven, but because of God’s graciousness.
7. David’s Prayer of Thanksgiving
King David wrote many hymns and psalms in the Book of Psalms, about 73 out of the 150 books. Many of these prayers in the Bible that David wrote were personal and highly emotional. That is why many regard the Book of Psalms as anatomy to the soul. Every range of emotions from thanksgiving to forgiveness, petitions for protection and deliverance, and even anger are written in Psalms. Here, David wrote a thanksgiving prayer, one of the most comforting prayers in the Bible.
Psalms 30 1 I will exalt you, LORD, for you lifted me out of the depths and did not let my enemies gloat over me. 2 LORD my God, I called to you for help, and you healed me. 3 You, LORD, brought me up from the realm of the dead; you spared me from going down to the pit. 4 Sing the praises of the LORD, you his faithful people; praise his holy name. 5 For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning. 6 When I felt secure, I said, “I will never be shaken.”
7 LORD, when you favored me, you made my royal mountain stand firm; but when you hid your face, I was dismayed. 8 To you, LORD, I called; to the Lord, I cried for mercy: 9 “What is gained if I am silenced, if I go down to the pit? Will the dust praise you? Will it proclaim your faithfulness? 10 Hear, LORD, and be merciful to me; LORD, be my help.” 11 You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, 12 that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent. LORD my God, I will praise you forever.”
Lessons We Can Learn From David’s Prayer
Always Thank God For Victory Over Our Enemies
Enemies here do not necessarily refer to humans out to harm you (verse 1). They can refer to illness, ailment, or any burdens that you have. When we pray, pray for how God has allowed us to reign victory over all of these. No matter how big or small it is, always count our blessings to know that God is in control.
Dependence On God For Healing
In verse 2, David acknowledged and thanked God for healing him when he asked for it. Likewise, when you are healed from whatever burdens, recognize that God provided you with the people and circumstances for you to be healed.
Thank God For Keeping Us Alive
Life is a present from God. And He is the only one that has the power to give life and preserve life. Make it a daily habit to thank God for keeping us alive. We may not be facing the life-threatening situations David went through as seen in verse 9 (thank God for this too!) but it always pleases God when we thank Him for preserving our lives to do His good works.
Be Bold And Give Thanks Aloud
David’s prayer teaches us to be bold and give thanks aloud (verse 12) because thanksgiving is one of the purest forms of worship. We don’t worship in silence, do we? So let us glorify and give thanks to our Lord God boldly and loudly, for He deserves all the praise of heaven and earth.
Make Thanksgiving To God A Routine
Thanksgiving should never just be reserved for Thanksgiving Day. Thanksgiving is not just about counting our blessings, it is our duty as children of God to do so. Just as we must read His holy word daily, let’s learn from David, who continuously gave thanks to God as we have seen in Psalms 30 and many others.
8. David’s Prayer for Anger and Peace
Another one of David’s prayers in the Bible is for anger and peace. This short psalm was written by David as he complains to God about the slanders made against him and finding peace and refuge in God.
Psalms 4 1 “Answer me when I call to you, my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; have mercy on me and hear my prayer. 2 How long will you people turn my glory into shame? How long will you love delusions and seek false gods?
3 Know that the LORD has set apart his faithful servant for himself; the LORD hears when I call to him. 4 Tremble and do not sin; when you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent. 5 Offer the sacrifices of the righteous and trust in the LORD. 6 Many, LORD, are asking, “Who will bring us prosperity?” Let the light of your face shine on us. 7 Fill my heart with joy when their grain and new wine abound. 8 In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, LORD, make me dwell in safety.”
Lessons We Can Learn From David’s Prayer
Being Angry Is Valid
Being angry is a valid and just emotion. It is okay to get angry. Jesus got angry too. In Matthew 21:12-17 and John 2: 13-17 where he found the people of Jerusalem had turned God’s temple into a marketplace. Jesus got angry and overturned tables because they have defiled the holiness of the temple courts.
Be Angry, But Do Not Sin
But Jesus’ anger was holy because he was angry for God. He was angry at how they have dishonored God. But when we get angry, most of the time our anger is not holy anger like Jesus’. Instead, we act on our anger and we tend to sin and thus, the purpose of verse 4. A good reminder for us is this: the anger of men does not produce the righteousness of God.
Do Not Normalise Your Angry Thoughts
In verse 4, David addresses how at night the thoughts that trouble us, anger us, and can cause us distress. David then reminds us that we should not normalize them, but be cautious of them and search our hearts silently so that we may refocus on God. Because if we do not, we are giving the devil a foothold to tempt us into sinning (Ephesians 4:26-27).
Anger Does Not Define Your Identity And Reality
In verses 3, 7, and 8, David is probably referring to how his enemies or others are more prosperous than he is. But he does not let anger overrule him, because he knows that while those emotions are valid, they are not the truth. God is the truth. Our identity in Him remains as “faithful servant[s]” whom He has sanctified. Thus, our reality that God is faithful and for us remains unchanged.
Finding Peace And Refuge
David ends this prayer asking God to fill him with joy but more importantly, how reaffirming his identity in God brought about solitude and peace. This allowed David to rest amidst distressing circumstances.
9. Solomon’s Prayer for Guidance
Prayers in Bible for wisdom and guidance are common because we do need them. King Solomon’s prayer for guidance is one of the most famous and powerful prayers in the bible.
1 Kings 3: 5-10 At Gibeon, the Lord appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.” 6 Solomon answered, “You have shown great kindness to your servant, my father David because he was faithful to you and righteous and upright in heart. You have continued this great kindness to him and have given him a son to sit on his throne this very day.
7 “Now, Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. 8 Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. 9 So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern these great people of yours?”10 The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this.
Lessons We Can Learn From Solomon’s Prayer
Acknowledge Past Blessings
Solomon began his prayer by acknowledging the past blessings that God has given to his father, David. Remembering and recounting how much God has done for you in the past is a good habit to adopt, especially in petition prayers. Because it expresses your appreciation and gratitude for God, who chose to bless you.
Humble Yourselves Before God
King Solomon inherited the throne of David and was ruling over Israel. Despite his royal status, Solomon knows that it was nothing compared to God. He displays great humility in verse 7 when he identified himself as ‘a little child’ in front of God. It is Solomon’s way of saying “I can’t do this. The job is so much bigger than what I can handle, I must rely on God”. When we come to God in prayer, do we truly humble ourselves before Him?
Asking For Understanding Is Also Part Of Wisdom
In verse 9, Solomon asks for a discerning heart, a heart to understand what is right and wrong. This goes beyond asking for knowing what is right and wrong. We cannot gain wisdom if we know without understanding. Solomon realizes this and thus asks God to fill him with understanding, not mere knowledge. This is how we should ask for wisdom.
Asking God For What We Need, Not Want
Solomon could have asked for anything when God appeared to him, yet Solomon asked for wisdom that will not benefit himself but for the people of Israel. He asked for what he needed, not wanted. He could have asked for more prosperity. But Solomon knew better to ask for what God wants him to ask for – wisdom and guidance. When we start to chase after the Lord’s heart, His desires become ours. Therefore, His wisdom and guidance will be upon us as well.
10. Paul’s Prayer for Wisdom and Spiritual Growth
There are many prayers in the Bible made by Paul that we can learn from. Paul truly chased after God’s heart and everywhere he went, he preached about God. He also helped pioneer the church in Ephesus and had not seen them in years. Hence, he wrote a letter containing his prayer for wisdom for the Ephesians, asking God to bless them with the Spirit of wisdom that leads to spiritual growth.
Ephesians 1: 15-20 15 For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, 16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. 17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 I pray 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 his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms.
Lessons We Can Learn From Paul’s Prayer
Prayers Should Be Continuous, Not Sporadic
‘I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers’ – this shows that Paul is continuously praying for the Ephesians daily, not whenever he chooses to. There were other accounts where Paul’s prayers in the Bible show how much he continuously pray for them.
Pray For Wisdom To Know God Better
We can always come to God and seek His wisdom when we face challenges or conflicts that are above us. But instead of asking God for solutions, we should ask God for wisdom as Paul did in verse 17, that God so freely gives to us through the Holy Spirit. So that we can know God better. In doing so, we can comprehend God’s character and have a breakthrough to understand how God wants us to resolve certain conflicts or overcome situations. We can be taught about God, but unless we ask for wisdom from the Holy Spirit, we can never truly know God.
Pray For A Hope That Embraces The Future
18 “… that you may know the hope to which He has called you” – Here Paul teaches us that hope is an active faith that extends and embraces the future, not just for the present. And what should we hope for? Paul prays that the Ephesians can have hope in the future and for the future, and wait expectantly for the second coming of Christ.
Pray For A Faith That Allows Us To Believe God’s Power Lives In Us
God’s immeasurable power is unto us believers. The power to do great works for God lives in us. But we don’t see it or feel it. So how can we believe that great power lives in us? Only through faith. Not the intellectual, distant kind but the one that truly acknowledges that God is for us and us alone. Prayer should not be a thermometer that measures our degree of faith, but a thermostat that raises our degree of faith to God’s desired level. That’s how we will grow spiritually.
11. Jonah’s Prayer of Repentance
Prophet Jonah’s prayer of salvation and repentance is powerful in the bible that we can learn from. Jonah disobeyed and ran away instead of answering God’s call to prophesize to Nineveh. Because of his disobedience, God sent a raging storm to the ship Jonah boarded while running away. Jonah then convinced the sailors to throw him overboard because he knew God sent the storm (Jonah 1: 1-16). However, God didn’t let Jonah die and provided a great fish to swallow him (Jonah 1:17). Jonah was in the fish’s stomach for three days and three nights. During his time in the fish, Jonah prayed one of the most honest prayers in the Bible.
Jonah 2: 1-10 1 From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the Lord his God. 2 He said: “In my distress, I called to the Lord, and he answered me. From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help, and you listened to my cry. 3 You hurled me into the depths, into the very heart of the seas, and the currents swirled about me; all your waves and breakers swept over me. 4 I said, ‘I have been banished from your sight, yet I will look again toward your holy temple.’ 5 The engulfing waters threatened me, the deep surrounded me; seaweed was wrapped around my head.
6 To the roots of the mountains I sank down; the earth beneath barred me in forever. But you, Lord my God, brought my life up from the pit. 7 “When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, Lord, and my prayer rose to you, to your holy temple. 8 “Those who cling to worthless idols turn away from God’s love for them. 9 But I, with shouts of grateful praise, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. I will say, ‘Salvation comes from the Lord.’” 10 And the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.
Lessons We Can Learn From Jonah’s Prayer
God Uses All That He Has To Reach You
God used the raging storm, sailors, and a giant fish all to bring Jonah back to the path that God has designed for him. How much then would God do to reach you who has fallen as well? There is no place on earth where God cannot reach you. That is how much He cares and loves you.
God Is A Just God
God is a loving and compassionate god. However, let us not forget that He is also just and will punish those who rebel against Him. Yet, God does so with grace and mercy so that we may learn from our mistakes. Just like how He provided Jonah with a belly of a fish to reflect and repent, what ‘belly’ has God provided you to repent and ask for salvation?
God Doesn’t Stop Working With Us Just Because We Messed Up
“10 And the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land” – Our almighty God is not like the bosses of companies who lay off workers or cut off partnerships due to mistakes. His grace and mercy for us are incomprehensible. God could have killed Jonah for his rebellion but instead, God saved Jonah so that He may continue working with him and through him. How great is our God!
Recommit Yourself To God
“‘9 But I, with shouts of grateful praise, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. I will say, ‘Salvation comes from the Lord.’” – At the end of his prayer, Jonah recommits himself in obedience to God again. I urge everyone to start our day with a prayer that recommits ourselves to God, reminding ourselves that God is the Lord over our lives, not us.
God’s Timing Is Always Perfect
Why did God place Jonah three days and three nights in the fish? Not longer or shorter? Well, it is because Jonah was a foreshadow for Jesus. “40 For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Matthew 12:40). Like Jonah, we might never understand God’s timing but we can understand that His timing will always be perfect.
12. The Criminal’s Prayer of Faith
In Luke 23, two other criminals were also crucified along with Jesus Christ. One of two criminals mocked and teased Jesus for his inability to save himself, despite being called the Messiah. On the other hand, the other criminal rebuked and asked the latter if he doesn’t fear God. He knew that Jesus was sinless and uttered a prayer that marked how strong his faith was in God. His prayer is one of the most faithful prayers in the bible.
Luke 23: 42-43 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
Lessons We Can Learn From The Criminal’s Prayer
Difficult Times Reveal Our Faith In God
Even though Jesus Christ was mocked by the officials and his disciples fled away, the criminal’s faith remained strong. Compared to the rest of Jesus’ followers at that time, he had more faith in Jesus. During the darkest time, the criminal had more faith compared to the disciples of Jesus. His faith went beyond the present shame and condemnation.
The Wonderful Promise Made By Jesus Christ
In response to the criminal’s great faith, Jesus promised him that the criminal will be with him in paradise. In this case, we can interpret paradise as heaven. And the promise is eternal life with God and Jesus in heaven.
Repentance Can Happen Anywhere, Anytime
You do not need to go to the altar of a church to repent. Repentance is about the renewing of our hearts and thoughts to refocus on God such that we may not sin against God but honor Him with our words, thoughts and actions. As long as we are sincere about repenting, we can always mutter a quick prayer of repentance to God and seek His forgiveness.
Deathbed Salvation Is Possible
No matter how severe our sins are, the opportunity for salvation and forgiveness from Christ will always be given. Even in our final breaths. Jesus knew the criminal’s sincere and faithful heart and as such, he would enter the gates of Heaven that very day, despite only accepting Christ near death. Although possible, that is not to say that we should wait till the deathbed to receive Christ. If we have heard of the good news and still choose not to believe until near death, we will still be saved by God’s grace. But our rewards in heaven will not be as much. Salvation is simple, but the reward is difficult.
Salvation Is Not Defined By Our Past Deeds Or Good Works
The criminal must have done some grave misdeeds for him to be hung together with Jesus. But that did not stop him from receiving salvation! As said in Ephesians 2:8-9 that we are saved by God’s grace, not by what we have done. This is a reminder for us that God doesn’t look at our past or the good works we have done. Through his unconditional love and amazing grace, we can find our salvation.
13. Tax Collector’s Prayer of Humility
During biblical times, tax collectors were recognized as sinners. Tax collectors were encouraged to charge compensatory taxes. So, they often overcharged the taxes and people considered tax collectors as traitors and thieves. However, instead of persecuting them, Jesus treated tax collectors with grace and mercy. The tax collector’s prayer is his humble acceptance of the sin he made against God. Hence, this is one of the most striking prayers in the Bible.
Luke 18: 9 – 13 9 To some who were confident of their righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’”
Lessons We Can Learn From The Tax Collector’s Prayer
Self-Righteousness Is Not Righteousness At All
In verse 11, the Pharisee stood proudly by himself in front of many people boasting of how righteous he was. His prayer focused on the good things he made for God. Self-righteousness is dangerous. It leads to the pride that might cause us to despise others and prevents us from learning from God. The Pharisee relied on his own ‘good works’ but remember, it is not because of our own efforts that we are saved. It is by God’s grace and mercy.
God Looks At Our Hearts
On the other hand, the tax collector relied on the mercy and compassion of God. The tax collector identified himself not with a title or as a human. He identified himself as a sinner (verse 13). What a humble heart! True humility is being able to see the way things are. The Pharisee saw himself as great and should be exalted. But the tax collector saw in his heart that God should be exalted because He is merciful. As such, the tax collector and not the Pharisee went home justified before God (Luke 8:14). God will humble those who exalted themselves and exalt those who humbled themselves before God.
14. Stephen’s Prayer for Compassion
As one of the pioneer deacons of the early church and the first-ever Christian martyr, Stephen was a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit (Acts 6:5). Just like Paul, he went around preaching God’s word and has made prayers in the Bible. While being stoned to death, Stephen prayed that God will have compassion for the people who were stoning him.
Acts 7:59-60 While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep.
Lessons We Can Learn From Stephen’s Prayer
Even When Facing Persecution, Be Rest Assured That God Is Still With You
While being stoned, Stephen still cried out to God. He knew that even while being persecuted, God will still hear him. Stephen’s life ended just as how it began: full of faith. So be bold of your faith! We should keep honoring God with our conduct and words, hoping that others may see Christ in us.
Remaining Christ-like Until The Very End
Even when he faced persecution, Stephen was still compassionate in bringing more people to God. His hope was for the conversion of those people who persecuted them, eventually. His final prayer was highly similar to Jesus’ final prayer on the cross as well (Luke 23:34). He boldly held on to his belief in Christ and as such, his actions reflected Christ as well. Are we able to still be identified as God’s children in distressing times?
God Hears Your Prayers Until The Very End
Interestingly, Stephen’s death wasn’t in vain. His death had a profound impact on Paul, the world’s greatest missionary who was once a persecutor of Christians. If Stephen hadn’t prayed for compassion in his final breath, we may never have a complete New Testament in the Bible. We should never abandon our faith even when persecuted. We shouldn’t fear that they will reject us because God is working on their hearts. Like Paul, God can change someone who we thought impossible to reach and change. Our prayers are powerful and will always be heard.
15. The Lord’s Prayer
Jesus taught his disciples how to pray in Matthew 6:9-13 and Luke 11:2-4. It is a simple but one of the most powerful prayers in the Bible that we know best as the Lord’s Prayer. The Lord’s Prayer covers all the different types of prayer that we have seen. From our petitions to confession and forgiveness, to deliverance and glory, everything is in the Lord’s Prayer.
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Your name; Your kingdom come; Your will be done; on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. For Yours is the kingdom, the power and, the glory, forever and ever. Amen.
Lessons We Can Learn From The Lord’s Prayer
Declaration of God’s identity
Declare and acknowledge God’s rightful place as the Father of us.
Prayer of Adoration
Praise God for who He is and all that He has done for us.
Prayer of Surrender and Faith
Acknowledge that it is God’s Will and He is in control of our lives. This is one of the greatest forms of submission.
Prayer of Petition
Ask in God’s name for the things that we need such as strength, guidance, and wisdom to overcome whatever circumstance we might be facing.
Prayer of Confession and Forgiveness
We should always confess our sins so that we can receive forgiveness from God.
Prayer of Healing and Deliverance
Ask God for protection and help in overcoming our sins, to deliver us from Satan’s temptations so that we may achieve healing.
Glorify God’s name
When we glorify God’s name, we are bringing Him honor and He takes delight in that.