What makes great prayers? How would a prayer be considered great? Is it the charismatic show of energy while praying? Is it the mastery of words in prayer? Or perhaps, how loud and bold we can be while Praying?
Well, none of the above was mentioned in the bible as ‘the way to pray’. In fact, some of the greatest prayers of the bible took the opposite of the above. You will see shortly that it is not about being charismatic or knowing how to speak well in prayer.
Prayer is a very powerful tool we all use as believers. And if it is that important, we might as well learn how to do it right. From the times of Abraham to Moses, David, and Jesus, we have seen some examples of what a great prayer should be. Below are 7 of such prayers in the bible.
Moses’ Prayer for Israel in the Wilderness
Despite the fact that the Children of Israel enjoyed God’s mighty hand and protection in delivering them from Egypt, they still were rebellious to Him. This got God angry and wanted to destroy them completely and make a great nation out of Moses.
Exodus 32:9-14 recounts how God expressed his displeasure and plan to Moses. Moses on the other, hand had to remind God of His promises concerning their fathers – Abraham, Isaac, and Israel (Jacob) – to make them a great nation and give their descendants the land as their inheritance.
This prayer is profound because it made God changed his mind again concerning what he wanted to do to the Israelites. This shows us that no matter the situation, God can still change His mind concerning a thing – through a prayer that reminds Him of His promises.
Abraham’s Prayer for Sodom
Abraham believed and worked with God so much that he was called “the friend of God”. He was the father of faith; the man who left all based on an instruction from the God he never saw. This was why God was open with him on His plans to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah.
Abraham got into what would be a negotiation with God, as recounted in Genesis 18:16-33. Abraham asked if God was willing to destroy the righteous with the wicked. God gave him a chance to move his cousin, Lot, before the destruction of the city.
This prayer tells us the power of ‘friendship’ with God – in our case, the Holy Spirit. The Spirit shares with us things to come and helps us prevent impending danger, to save us and the people around us.
The Lord’s Prayer
This is one of the most popular prayers of the Bible. This prayer summarizes exactly how we ought to pray as believers. Matthew 6:5-15 tells us how the Disciples of Jesus asked Him to teach them how to pray. Jesus knew their question came from a genuine interest in understanding what a great prayer looks like.
So he went further to not just give them a template on great prayer, but also warned them not to pray like the pagans and the Pharisees. This tells us that a great prayer is not in where or how we pray but in simplicity and sincerity of heart.
David’s Prayer of Confession
We all know David knew the key to the heart of God. Even though he did horrible things, God called him a man after His own heart. One would think God was being partial, right? Well, Psalm 51 tells us how David approaches God after he sinned.
When we fall short or fall off the faith, what do we do? This prayer in Psalm 51 shows how to bear it all to God in a prayer of repentance. As humans, we need this prayer even more oftenn but thank God for Grace. Jesus has already paid the price for our redemption. Therefore, in bearing it all to God, we now appreciate Him for the gift of grace.
Daniel’s Prayer of Intercession
The prayer of intercession is one we see all the time in the scriptures. Abraham interceded for the righteous few. Moses interceded for the children of Israel. Jesus interceded for His disciples. In the book of Daniel 9:1-19, Daniel interceded for his people when he realized the 70 years of exile was ended.
Even though he was seen as a righteous man, he identified with the sins of his people and asked God for mercy. You see, it doesn’t matter if you are the righteous one among your clique; if you do not pray for them, God will not because of your own righteousness spare them. This prayer is something we should learn to do often as believers.
Jabez’s Prayer for Upliftment
Jabez was a man of vision like many of us. He was passionate about his influence, but he knew he couldn’t have done it without God. So he called upon the name of the Lord in 1 Chronicles 4:10, “And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that Thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that Thine hand might be with me, and that Thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me! And God granted him that which he requested.”
It doesn’t matter how strategic you are with your vision. If the hand of God is not upon it, it will crumble. This is why we all need to pray this prayer of Jabez. Trust me, God delights in this type of prayer.
Paul’s Prayer for the Ephesian Believers
Apostle Paul’s mission was to ensure all believers understand the heights and depths of Christ’s love for us. This he did with all his might, regardless of all the pain and suffering he had to go through to accomplish this vision.
He wrote in Ephesians 1:15-23 of how much he wanted us – believers – to understand His love for us. Verse 17 reads, “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.”
These 7 great prayers of the bible do not mean these are the 7 major prayers we need to pray as believers. They’re just to remind us of some great prayers that actually did wonders then, and can do wonders now. I’d like to end with this powerful quote from Corrie ten Boom.
“Any concern too small to be turned into a prayer is too small to be made into a burden.”
― Corrie ten Boom