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The Blue Letter Bible

Don Stewart :: What Is Prayer?

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Don Stewart
The Bible has many things to say about the subject of prayer. Prayer is talking to God. It is our way of communicating our thoughts, needs, and desires to Him. It is an avenue that God has provided for the believer of making known the deepest feelings of our heart.

Prayer Is An Act

Prayer is an act, not merely an attitude. This can be seen by the way the Scripture speaks of people praying.

He [Jesus] was praying in a certain place, and after He had finished, one of His disciples said to him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught His disciples (Luke 11:1).

Notice it says that Jesus was praying and then He finished praying. This means that prayer is an act. You begin it and you finish it.

Asking God

The main idea behind prayer is petition, asking God for things. Jesus said:

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened (Matthew 7:7,8).

How Often Should We Pray

If possible, there should be set times each day that we pray. As the need arises, prayer should also take place in between these times. The Bible commands us to:

Pray continually (1 Thessalonians 5:17).

Pray Privately

Jesus said that our prayers should be done in private.

But when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly (Matthew 6:6).

There is a time for public prayer but as individuals we should talk to God in private.

Continue In Prayer

We are also to continue in prayer. We do not just pray for something once and then go on.

Then they came to a place which was named Gethsemane; and He said to His disciples, Sit here while I pray. . . And He went away and prayed and spoke the same words (Mark 14:32,39).

In the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus prayed three times for the same thing. Hence it is not a lack of faith to continue to pray for something. Furthermore we are commanded to keep on praying for things.


Prayer is talking to God. It is a specific thing that we do, not merely an attitude. The main idea behind prayer is petition-asking God for things. From the Scripture we discover that prayer is an act that we are to perform between us and God. It should be done in private without calling attention to the fact that we are praying.

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The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.