Biblical Prayer

Please open God’s Word of Truth to 1 Peter 5:5-11 and read these verses from your own Bible so that you don’t just read this study. The idea of Bible study is just that — study. Study of Scripture is for your edification and your own personal  benefit — it is listening to the Holy Spirit as you study.

Bible study is a very serious undertaking. God provided His Word for STUDY. Reading through the entire Bible is one thing, study of the Scriptures is entirely another.

By way of introduction:

Please notice the “Study Notes” at the end of our study. These study notes examine the original grammatical usage of the Koiné Greek, looking at the verbs” in most of the verses referenced in our study, so that we know the proper usage and original intent of the original writer. Isn’t that awesome? We can KNOW how each word for prayer was actually expressed in a particular context.  

EXAMPLE: In the Koiné Greek of the New Testament, (pronounced koy-nay) “prayer” is the Greek word: “proseuchomai.” It is a verb and means “to pray”it is always used of prayer to God, and is the most frequent word in this respect, especially in the Synoptists (first three Gospels) and Acts. It is also used once in Romans, 8:26; in Ephesians 6:18; in Philippians 1:9; in 1 Timothy, 2:8; in Hebrews, 13:18; and in Jude, vs 20.

Let’s get started! Notice three words in our opening context,  in 1 Peter 5:5-11: “humble, casting and cares.”

Whatever your cares and concerns, God does care and God is always aware of your every situation. In fact: there never was a time when God did not know your present situation as a believer, and God made provision for your every need billions of years ago.  

Prayer should be with an attitude of reverence, humility, and gratitude (even in the hard times). When you pray to God, believe that He IS and believe that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. We should be always seeking God in good times and bad; in prosperity and despair; in sickness and in good health. God should be at the forefront of our ‘thinking-life’(note again that this says thinking-life and not emoting-life).

God communicates with the believer primarily through his Word. God has given believers a ‘grace’ means to communicate with him — prayer. We pray and then we rest in faith (or exercise “Faith-Rest”). This term was coined because it expresses in two words our prayer life — our walk with the Lord in fields of Grace. Faith-rest is: Casting all your care(s) upon Him, because He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).

Can you even imagine that the God who designed and established the universe, actually cares for us?

Then God went to the Cross to redeem us. What an awesome God we serve! Prayer keeps us close to and dependent upon God.

In verse 6 of our context: “Humble yourselves under the  mighty hand of God, that (here’s the reason) He may exalt you in due time.” Notice, humble appears before you cast all your cares in prayer. And how do you humble yourself? You humble yourself by use of 1 John 1:9.

As believers, we need to know and claim promises related to prayer:  

“Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 18:19

“All things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.” Matthew 21:22

“Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, BELIEVE that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.” Mark 11:24

“I love the LORD, because he hath ‘heard my voice’ and my supplications. Because He hath ‘inclined His ear’ unto me, therefore will I call upon Him as long as I live.(Psalms 116:1-2)  Notice the ‘parallelism,’ which means saying the same thing “twice,” differently. A parallelism reinforces the statement and causes us to think (even meditate) on the message of the statement. I personally love parallelism in the Old Testament Psalms. It is an excellent way to get a point of Truth across to the reader … say it twice, differently.    

Notice there are two types of prayer in this verse: “heard my voice” and a more intense type of prayer — “supplications.” Sometimes we pray in a normal and natural way. At other times we are in such despair that our prayer is intensified and we quickly call out loud to the Lord: “Oh, God,” or “Oh, Lord, help me.”

“I will call upon Him” implies a ‘vocal request’: however, it is not necessary to pray by speaking out loud. You can “think in your soul” as well as speak out loud, both are acceptable.

Two of my favorite verses on Prayer are Isaiah 65:24, and Jeremiah 33:3:

“And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.”  

“Call unto me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you know not.”

Praying helps us depend on God, but prayer does so much more — it helps us exploit the depths and the riches of God and it reinforces our faith.

Often, we say that ‘it is the power of prayer that gets results’ — WRONG! It is not the power of prayer — it is God’s Power! The power is God’s! We also say, ‘prayer changes things.’ Prayer does not change anything! God changes things according to His sovereign will.

Be careful to give God the credit and not prayer — prayer is not an entity. Even though unintentionally (sub-consciously), statements like these discredit God and give credit to the one who prays.

God the Holy Spirit, communicates with us through God’s Word. The more God’s Word is metabolized in your soul, the more the Holy Spirit can teach you. We communicate with God by prayer.

Sometimes God changes things, but sometimes God changes our attitude. If God does not remove a difficult situation as we request, then He wants us to deal with it — learn to live with it for our benefit (e.g. Paul’s “thorn in the flesh,” 2 Corinthians 12:7-10). Remember that God is always trying to develop the character of Christ in us, therefore God will always do what is best for His Children.

Another favorite prayer is, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you.”

In this verse, can you see three facets of prayer? Read it a second time.

“Ask” is speaking or verbal. “Seeking” is prayer for guidance. “Knocking” is intense prayer — supplication.

“And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.” (John 14:13, 14)

“If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. (John 15:7)

“Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be made known unto God.” (Philippians 4:6)

“Pray without ceasing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17)

“Let us therefore come boldly unto the Throne of Grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find Grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)

As believer’s remember, when you pray, you are utilizing a divinely designed system to reach the very Throne Room of God. And this system was made possible by Christ Jesus when He died for you on Calvary.  

Prayer is ALWAYS directed to the Father (Matthew 6:9), in the name of the Son (John 14:13, 14), in the power of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 6:18).


Make your public prayers short and to the point. Long prayers should be reserved for private prayers. Public prayer should never become a “preaching message” for the benefit of those present. Public prayer by a Pastor, a teacher, a leader, or anyone, should never become a ”preaching” prayer:

“And when you pray, you will not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of streets, that they may be seen of men. With truth I say unto you, They have their reward.”

“But you, when you pray, enter into your closet (private chamber or room), and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father which is in secret; and your Father which sees in secret shall reward you. But when you pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.”  (Matthew 6:5-7)

Except in an emergency or some unusual situation, private prayer should basically contain a fourfold system in the following order:


Every prayer should begin with confession of sin. Confession in scripture means to “agree” with God; to name or cite the sin; to admit.

If you keep confession ‘current’ then you fulfill the concept of 1 Thessalonians 5:17 — “Pray without ceasing.” Confession is all about soul searching. Confession restores the believer to fellowship so that the believer is filled with the Holy Spirit, ready to approach God the Father and Prayer Walk together.


“In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18) “Giving thanks always for ALL things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Ephesians 5:20)  Notice “everything” and “all things” — which include the bad things and the good things; material things and spiritual things. Always thank God for His wonderful Word for it is a piece of Heaven — it is the Mind of Christ — the very thinking of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16).


“Praying ALWAYS with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication FOR ALL SAINTS.” (Ephesians 6:18, caps added)

Prayer for others basically falls into two categories believer and unbeliever. REMEMBER AND THINK ON THIS: God uses people to reach others for Christ. So, you always want to hold the unbelievers up to God in prayer for their salvation.  

Pray for people in various ministries such as Pastor, teacher, leader, missionary, and friends. We are also to pray for those who persecute us in some way, such as spitefully using us for their own gain or your loss — in other words pray even for your enemies (Matthew 5:44; Luke 6:28). This means we are utilizing the concepts of Grace, instead of retaliating, give it to the Lord as often as needed, in prayer.


Prayer for our needs is listed last, though it may not be the last in importance. Most Christians do not have needs. They have desires. Make sure your petitions are not ‘self-centered.’

When praying for self, Hebrews 4:16 describes the process: “Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the Throne of Grace, so that (here’s the reason) we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.When you pray for your need, your frame of mind should always be God’s Will and your willingness to accept God’s Will (2 Corinthians 12: 7-10). Look it up.

There are many reasons for prayers not answered. Following are just a few:

“Carnality” (1 Corinthians 3:1-3)  is probably the most prevalent along with lack of faith, impure motive and selfishness.  See James 1:5-8; 4:2-3.  Psalms 3:4; Isaiah 1:15; 59:1-3; 1 Peter 3: 7. Out of fellowship with the Lord because of sin. Your mood or attitude when you pray, such as self-righteousness and pride, will prevent your prayer from being heard or answered. There is also lack of obedience and rebellion (Deuteronomy 1:43-45. See also 1 John 3:22 and 5:14).

Our prayers should be reverent with humility and appreciation — ‘childlike’ as to the Father (1 Timothy 2:1). Prayer should be sacred and prayed without ulterior motives. Prayer should be done with a true heart — integrity before God. You should be “filled” with the Spirit whenever you pray (Ephesians 3:14-21; 5:18).  How are filled with the Holy Spirit? Answer – 1 John 1:9!

The greatest prayer ever prayed was prayed by our Lord and Savior just before He died on the Cross in your place. Christ is pouring His very heart out for you and me. Jesus always prayed for the Father’s Will — so should we as His Children. His unbelievable Love and devotion for the Father and for His followers should be all the assurance that believer’s need when praying.

To Love Christ as He loved us should be every believer’s goal in life — to be more and more like Christ. Please read and meditate on every Word of Christ in John Chapter 17, and do so often. Do you want to know Jesus intimately? Look up and read all of the prayers of Christ our Savior. Most topical indexes and Topical Bibles list all the prayers of Jesus.

In closing, as often as you will, pray as Jesus taught us to pray (Matthew 6:9-15). Jesus drew great strength from our Heavenly Father you can too! 

One more thing: when you can, read every Word of Christ in the New Testament and read them often.


The following demonstrations of the grammatical usage for the word “prayer,” from the original koiné Greek taken from: Vine’s Complete Dictionary Of Old and New Testament Words;W.E Vine, Merrill F. Unger, William White, Jr.  Thomas Nelson Publishers, copyrighted 1984,  1996.

Earlier in our study, an example of the most common Greek word for prayer was presented: the verb “proseuchomai” — “to pray.” 

The next verb usage is the word “erotao, “to ask” is translated by the verb to pray in Luke 14:18, 19; 16:27; John 4:31 14:16; 16:26; 17:9, 15, 20; in Acts 23:18; 1 John 5:16. This verb also expresses “asked,” “prayed,” and “request.”

Next, is the verb “deomai” – “to desire” as in  2 Corinthians 5:20; 8:4. It also can mean “beseech.” 

For your own personal benefit,  you may wish to look up these verses as referenced to deepen your understanding and appreciation of God’s Word. Meditate on these things. 

Thank you Father for your Wonderful Word. I pray that the Holy Spirit will challenge each student to cherish your Word of Truth and put into practice these principles of Prayer. Thank you Lord for loving us from eternity past and forever, in Jesus Name, Amen.

Happy Studying!

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