Prayer brings a revelation of God’s heart and answered prayer reveals God's nature provided in our moment of need. Prayer can be defined as finding the heart of God and participating in it here on earth. Christ's ministry in heaven is intercession. Prayer then, is joining Christ in his heavenly ministry and a vital part of being the Body of Christ here on earth.
Prayer is a conversation and communion with God.
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. - Romans 8:26-27 (NIV)
Prayer is an expression of mutual love.
Jesus said, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ These two commands are pegs; everything in God’s Law and the Prophets hangs from them.” - Matthew 22:37-40 (MSG)
Prayer often includes interceding for the needs of others.
I looked for someone who could build a wall, who could stand in the places where the walls have crumbled and defend the land when my anger is about to destroy it, but I could find no one. - Ezekiel 22:30 (GNT)
Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. - Romans 8:34 (NIV)
I urge you, brothers and sisters, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me. Pray that I may be kept safe from the unbelievers in Judea and that the contribution I take to Jerusalem may be favorably received by the Lord’s people there... - Romans 15:30-31
God answers our prayer requests. When we pray the heart of God—the things for which he desires to come to pass and which he places in our hearts—then he will surely answer us when we ask for those things.
...if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. - 2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV)
Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.” - Jeremiah 29:12-14 (NIV)
This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him. - 1 John 5:14-15 (NIV)
But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you. - John 16:13-15 (NIV)
Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass. - Psalm 37:4-5 (NKJ)
Prayer of elders can bring healing.
Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. - James 5:13-14
We can pray with authority from God.
Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be (or shall have been) bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be (or shall be) loosed in heaven. Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them. - Matthew 18:18-19
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. - Ephesians 6:10-14
How should we pray?
We should pray in faith and humility.
Yet when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth; I humbled myself with fasting, and my prayer was genuine. - Psalm 35:13 (NIV)
My sacrifice is a humble spirit, O God; you will not reject a humble and repentant heart. - Psalm 51:17 (GNT)
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. - Hebrews 11:6 (NIV)
We can pray with thanksgiving.
I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers... - Philemon 4:6 (NIV)
I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. - 1 Timothy 2:1 (NIV)
Praying alone and at set times can aid one in prayer.
In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly. - Psalm 5:3 (NIV)
Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress, and he hears my voice. - Psalm 55:17 (NIV)
And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. - Matthew 6:5-8 (NIV)
At daybreak, Jesus went out to a solitary place. The people were looking for him and when they came to where he was, they tried to keep him from leaving them. - Luke 4:42 (NIV)
But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. - Luke 5:16 (NIV)
One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. - Luke 6:12 (NIV)
We should pray corporately as a house of prayer.
It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’ - Matthew 21:13 (NIV)
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. - Acts 2:42 (NIV)
When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. “Sovereign Lord,” they said, “you made the heavens and the earth and the sea, and everything in them. - Acts 4:24 (NIV)
Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off. - Acts 13:1-3 (NIV)
Praying together brings a promise of God’s presence.
Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. - Matthew 18:19-20 (NIV)
Praying in the spirit (in tongues) edifies the believer.
For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful. So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my understanding; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my understanding. Otherwise when you are praising God in the Spirit, how can someone else, who is now put in the position of an inquirer, say “Amen” to your thanksgiving, since they do not know what you are saying? You are giving thanks well enough, but no one else is edified. - 1 Corinthians 14:14-17 (NIV) (See Quicklink on Baptism of the Holy Spirit.)
We should pray to confess our sins.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. - 1 John 1:9 (NIV)
We should pray according to God’s Word and as we read the Word.
If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. - John 15:7 (NIV)
How can I learn more?
Below are some video resources on prayer:
A Conversation: God's Pattern For Relationship
Catherine Mullins Robbins
Run Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes and 31 seconds
Sermon begins: 10:21
Pastor Sharon Mullins
Run Time: 1 hour, 31 minutes and 34 secs
Sermon begins: 55:07
Prayer is the Most Productive Thing We Can Do
Pastor David Robbins
Run Time: 2 hours and 12 secs
Sermon begins: 1:02:13