Prayer Before Studying the Bible
How Prayer Will Revolutionize Your Personal Bible Study
For years I used to do my Bible study without much prayer.
I mean, I’d separate my prayer time from my Bible study time. Prayer meant sitting down with a list of people to pray for, and Bible study meant sitting down with my Bible and a notebook. They were two separate parts of my life, and they both became chores.
And honestly, when someone would say I should pray before I start my Bible study, I’d be all , “Yeah, yeah, sure. Maybe for you. But God’s given me a good head on my shoulders and I can figure this out on my own. I don’t see why the Holy Spirit needs to intervene when I’ve got this down pat.”
I know. That’s ugly. Pride always is.
But as I’ve come to realize just how dependent I am on my heavenly Father for every breath I take and every insight He gives me, I’ve learned to thread prayer into everything I do, including my Bible study.
And I’ve learned to view Bible study not as an end in itself but as a means toward deeper knowledge of and love for God.
Bible study without prayer is a lightbulb without elecrticity; it doesn’t do anyone any good.
And I believe it will do the same for you.
I using the acronym ACTS to remember what to pray for, both in life and in my Bible study. You’ll see it explained below:
Adoration in Bible Study
Before you begin reading the Bible, spend some time simply worshipping God for who He is. Praise Him for being eternal and that His Story began before this world was ever created. Meditate on His goodness, His holiness, His love, justice, and kindness. Before you even open the pages of your Bible, remind yourself who God is, and what a privilege it is to serve Him.
During your Bible study, keep an open communication with God. As you’re reading, ask yourself, “What does this passage say about who God is and what He is ?” And after you write down the answer, respond to it with adoration. Let this knowledge penetrate not just your mind but your heart also as you grow in love for God.
After your Bible study, you may have discovered a new facet of God’s character. Respond to Him in worship and adoration. Feel free to sing or make music, and celebrate who He is.
Confession in Bible Study
Before you begin studying the Bible, invite the Holy Spirit to move you to repentence. Acknowledge that your heart is prone to wonder and you need His help to be faithful. Confess any sins that come to mind before you open His Word, and ask Him to purify you of those sins.
During your Bible study, you may sense the Holy Spirit pricking your conscience. As you read of Peter’s denial or Saul’s disobedience, ask yourself, “Have I acted in the same way in my own life?” Move from simply remembering the deed to confessing it and asking for the Father’s forgiveness.
After you study the Bible, spend a few moments asking God to bring to mind anything you may have missed. Ask Him to create in you a clean heart and renew a steadfast spirit within you (Psalm 51:10).
Thanksgiving in Bible Study
Before you begin your study, thank God for all He has done for you. Think on the last 24 hours and recite His faithfulness as you see it in your life. What has gone well? What has been difficult but bearable because of His presence in your life?
During your study of the Bible, thank God for giving you the Bible and this window into His story. Many people around the world wish they had their own personal Bible, and this privilege should move us to thanksgiving.
After your Bible study, thank Jesus for His sacrifice and reconciling you to the Father. Is there anything in the passage you studied that reveals new things to thank God for? Take time to do it.
Supplication in Bible Study
Before you begin, ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and your mind to understand the depths of His truths in Scripture. Ask Him for wisdom and patience and discipline as you study the Bible (James 1:5). He will gladly give you these things.
During your study, ask God to help you notice if there’s any instruction in the text. Are there ways to grow in your love for God and others that you’ve failed to do in your life?
After your study, ask the Holy Spirit to help you implement what you’ve read. We know that “the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak” (Matt 26:41), so ask that God will help you follow through.
Listen After You Pray
Conversation is two-way: one person speaks, then the other, and so forth.
When you start with prayer, you talk to God; in studying the Bible, He speaks to you; then you respond to Him in prayer again. But don’t rush off after you’ve said “amen.” Be still for a few minutes and listen in silence. Sometimes the Spirit of God may want to further explain or apply something to your life.
The Holy Spirit is alive in every believer, and He longs to teach and instruct us Himself. Sometimes He will speak to you, and sometimes He won’t, but you’ll never know if you don’t listen. And when He does speak, the Word will come to life in a whole new way. What an incredible way to experience the Word of God!
Start praying today, and you may just discover it’s soon become your favorite part of Bible study.
- Take time to talk with God about what you’ve just read. Is there something you want to Adore Him for, Confess to Him, Thank Him for, or Supplicate (Ask) Him for?
- Could you relate to my confession at the beginning of this post? Or do you lean more toward asking than adoring? Reflect on this post in your journal, writing about what role prayer has played in your Bible study up to this point.
- End your reflection by responding in prayer, using the ACTS model.
Building Habits of Prayer and Bible Study
Good communication is essential to a good relationship. A constant plea from many wives to their husbands is “Talk to me.” A wise husband understands this need and enjoys communicating with his wife.
Children need encouragement and instruction from their parents, and parents need to listen to the requests, questions and opinions of their children.
The basics of good communication include talking as well as listening .
The same principles apply to our relationship with our heavenly Father. Good communication between Him and us is a vital aspect of the godly way of life. God speaks to us through His Word, the Holy Scriptures (Jeremiah 10:1; Isaiah 51:7).
We talk to Him through prayer. These avenues of communication between God and us should not become one-way streets—by our merely asking for favors but never listening to advice and instruction.
They must together become a two-way, interactive communication pathway.
How often should we talk to God in prayer?
“Pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).
God wants us to make praying to Him a regular habit. This doesn’t mean we will pray without a pause all day every day. It simply means we must not cease making prayer a habit—we should pray regularly and consistently to maintain contact with God.
What were the prayer habits of some of God’s faithful servants?
“Evening and morning and at noon I will pray, and cry aloud, and He shall hear my voice” (Psalms 55:17).
“Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days” (Daniel 6:10).
“Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, [Jesus] went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed” (Mark 1:35).
The Scriptures indicate it was a fairly common practice among God’s servants to pray more than once every day. On at least one occasion Jesus arose early from His night’s sleep so He could have some extra time alone to talk to God privately in prayer.
Is God really interested in what we have to say to Him?
“For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers …” (1 Peter 3:12).
“The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:16).
The book of Revelation compares our prayers with the smell of sweet incense wafting up to God (Revelation 5:8; Revelation 8:3-4). He is anxious to hear us express our heartfelt concerns.
We could compare this to two young people in love conversing often and openly with each other—attentive to every word the other says.
God appreciates our having that same enthusiasm and eagerness, that same fervent desire, to converse with Him.
How responsive is God to us when we pray?
“… Whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them” (Mark 11:24).
“But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord” (James 1:6-7).
“Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us” (1 John 5:14).
God has promised to hear and respond to us when we pray sincerely and fervently—according to His will—and genuinely put our trust in Him.
Whose prayers will God refuse to consider?
“The LORD is far from the wicked, but He hears the prayer of the righteous” (Proverbs 15:29).
“Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor His ear heavy, that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear” (Isaiah 59:1-2).
“One who turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination” (Proverbs 28:9; compare Zechariah 7:11-13).
“You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures” (James 4:3).
Good communication is a two-way street. Not only must we talk to God through prayer, but we must pay close attention to what He has to say to us. We do this by studying and following His written Word, the Bible (Psalms 1:1-3; Psalms 119:97-100).
God expects us to pay attention to His written Word—especially to His foundational principles, the Ten Commandments—as a prerequisite for His hearing and responding to our prayers.
The books of the Bible can be compared to letters from Him, each communicating aspects of His will to us. If we won’t listen to His written Word, our requests of Him are futile.
He tells us He will simply refuse to respond (Isaiah 59:1-2).A comparison can be drawn to a wife expecting her husband to lavish love and blessings upon her even while she openly participates in an adulterous affair. Such expectation is unrealistic.
It is equally unrealistic to expect God to answer the prayers of one who has no interest in being faithful to Him, who persistently refuses to listen to His Word.
Of course, when anyone repents God will again listen to his prayers.
Do the Scriptures explain how to effectively study the Bible?
“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).
“Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true” (Acts 17:11, NIV).
“My son, if you receive my words, and treasure my commands within you, so that you incline your ear to wisdom, and apply your heart to understanding; yes, if you cry out for discernment, and lift up your voice for understanding, if you seek her as silver, and search for her as for hidden treasures; then you will understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God” (Proverbs 2:1-5).
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and depart from evil” (Proverbs 3:5-7).
A child who pays attention to instruction pleases his parents and makes them happy. In manner, God is pleased with us when we study His Word in a diligent effort to learn how He wants us to live.
What primary benefit comes from studying the Scriptures?
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:15-17).
Through the Bible God provides us with doctrine and instruction in His way of life. He reproves and corrects us, showing us where we need to change. He also enables us to grow to spiritual maturity and receive salvation. Bible study is our way of allowing God to talk with us. It is our duty to pay attention to His words, to make them a part of our thinking and to act on what we learn.
Husbands and wives who have grown close to each other in heart and mind often spend hours in intense conversation together. They discuss their goals, fears, joys, wants and needs. A close relationship with God requires the same type of open, effective two-way communication.
Will studying God’s Word help us better understand our own nature and God’s will?
“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).
“The entrance of Your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple” (Psalms 119:130).
This Bible Study Course was created to help you understand the Scriptures. But don’t just take our word for what the Bible teaches. Search the Scriptures yourself! Ask questions; become informed. Look up the verses that precede and follow those we quote. Make sure you become acquainted with the context.
Let God talk for Himself. Prayerfully ask for His guidance, then drink in His words. Only then will you know for certain that what you have learned here is the teaching of the living God. (If you have questions you are unable to resolve, please let us know.
One of our personal correspondents will be glad to help.)
How else does God communicate His will to us?
“So Philip ran to him [an Ethiopian official], and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and said, ‘Do you understand what you are reading?’ And he said, ‘How can I, unless someone guides me?’ And he asked Philip to come up and sit with him” (Acts 8:30-31).
“How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!’” (Romans 10:14-15).
No man is an island. No matter how much we study we need teachers to point us in the right direction. God provides them to edify His people (Ephesians 4:11-13), instructing them in the fundamentals of His Word. This is one of the main reasons we should regularly assemble together—so we can hear spiritually mature elders expound the words of life from the Scriptures.
15 Powerful Prayers from the Bible
How do you pray? Prayers that are rooted in Scripture are guaranteed to be aligned with the heart of God. Here is a list of 15 powerful prayers from the Bible that you can use word-for-word or to spur on your own prayers:
Father God, we thank you that your amazing unfathomable love has been poured out for us at the cross and poured into us by the Holy Spirit. We want to taste and experience more of the depth and breadth and length and height of your amazing love. Help us to walk by faith.
Help us to endure in suffering. Help us to own our need of you. Help us to fully embrace your Son, Jesus Christ, our Redeemer. So, pour out your love into our hearts, in increasing measure by the power of your Holy Spirit, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
It is in his name that we pray, Amen.
2 Corinthians 5:1-5
Father God, we praise you for the wonderful future that you have prepared for us through the death and resurrection of you Son, Jesus Christ. We eagerly await the day when we will enter into your presence for all eternity with holy bodies untainted by sin.
Please help us to not lose heart when we face the many pressures, anxieties, and troubles of life in this fallen world. Let us take great courage in the knowledge that you’ve given us the Holy Spirit to prepare our souls for our kingdom dwelling with you. Thank you for letting Jesus live in us.
It is in his name that we pray, Amen.
2 Corinthians 5:6-10
Father God, we praise you for using us to bring joy to your Son, Jesus Christ. In the midst of all the struggles, pressures, and discouragement we face while in our frail, failing bodies, please continue transforming us into servants who are always of good courage.
Lead us by your Holy Spirit to find rest in the grand promises that you’ve revealed to us in your Word. We confess that we are weak and that we need your help. Prepare us for the day when you will judge an account of all our works and offenses.
Though we do not deserve your grace, we cannot even begin to express our gratitude for nailing our guilt and shame upon the cross through your crucified Son. Lord, we earnestly long to experience the moment when you will declare to us, “Well done good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your master.
” Help us this week as we continue our walk of faith looking forward to the day when our faith will become sight. It is in the name of Jesus that we pray, Amen.
2 Corinthians 5:11-13
We praise you God for your infinite wisdom. We know so little, and yet we are so grateful to serve the one who knows all things. We confess that our hearts have been shattered by our sinful desires, and that we have tried to hide our shame from you.
Please forgive us for the ways we’ve slandered other people in our lives. Our hearts are broken and we cannot save ourselves. We thank you for knowing our own hearts better than we do. We thank you for saving us through your Son, Jesus Christ.
We thank you for bringing our dead hearts to life through the power of the Holy Spirit. Please guard our hearts from a critical spirit, and help us to not lose heart when we feel pressures leading us into doubt.
Renew our minds and give us confidence with the truth found in the words of the Bible. It is in the name of Jesus Christ that I pray, Amen.
2 Corinthians 5:14-15
Father God, we praise you for the confidence you give our hearts through the love of your Son. We look forward to the day when we will not pass from this world into condemnation, but instead will enter into your presence of everlasting celebration.
Father, we confess that we are tired of living for ourselves. We thank you for sending Jesus to die in our place to deliver us from the misery of a self-centered life. No matter what struggles, temptations, or tragedies we face this week, please help us not to lose heart.Through the Holy Spirit, guard us from ever doubting your great love for us. Help us to remember the good news that you have made us your own and that you have forgiven our sins.
Lead us to live our lives for Christ’s sake at our workplaces, with our friends and families, and wherever else we may go this week. We pray all this in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen.
2 Corinthians 5:16-17
Father God, we praise you for making us new creations in Christ! We are grateful for the good news that you do not regard us by our flesh. We are thankful that un us, you know and judge us rightly by our hearts.
We are sorry for the ways that we have let our shallow, worldly judgments of others become barriers to our proclamation of your gospel. Thank you for overcoming our weakness and partiality to bring life to our hearts through the Holy Spirit.
Please help us to see people more you do so that we would grow in our boldness to share the gospel with others. We pray all this in Jesus’ name, Amen.
2 Corinthians 5:18-20
Father God we thank you for reconciling us through Jesus Christ, and we praise you for choosing to make redeemed sinners us your gospel ambassadors to this broken world. Please continue to equip us and use us in your redemptive mission as you graciously bring peace to sinners.
Sanctify us for your glory as we confess, repent of, and remember the trespasses that we’ve committed against you. Keep us all humble as we seek reconciliation with other people we’ve wronged.
Protect us with the Holy Spirit from our spirit of pride whenever we serve our families, our church, our coworkers, or strangers in need. Though we don’t deserve your forgiveness, we praise you for the unfathomable love and grace that you demonstrate at the cross.
Please nourish our hearts daily this week with the words of the Bible and give us courage to proclaim your gospel boldly to all. We pray all this in the name of Jesus and for his sake. Amen.
2 Corinthians 5:21
Father God we praise you for your perfect righteousness. There is no fairer nor more merciful a judge than you, and we confess that we do not deserve your forgiveness for the sins we’ve committed.
Though we have wronged you, betrayed you, and hated you in so many ways, we thank you for the unbelievable gift of freedom from the power of sin in our lives. Help us to always remember the cost of our freedom and to never forget how Jesus has dealt with our sins at the cross.Help us to also grow in our awareness of the sins that taint our lives so that we would learn to hate our sins you do. Shine the light of your Holy Spirit into the dark places of our hearts so that we might better know and repent of our sins for your glory.
Thank you so much for reconciling us through the gospel to make us your righteous servants. Use us to proclaim your good news boldly to others this week. We pray all this in the name of Jesus and for his sake, Amen.
Father God, we bow before you, and recognize our great need of a Savior. Today we want to lift our hearts and give thanks for Your Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ.
We lift our hearts in praise to our Savior, and as your loved children and your redeemed servants, we lay our lives before you in worship.
Forgive us our sins, guide us by your Spirit into repentance, and make us bold proclaimers of your Word. We pray all this in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.
Father God we praise you for the ultimate gift of love in your Son. What a marvelous light of hope you have given to our dark world. We thank you for fulfilling your law perfectly in Jesus Christ when not one of us could.
We confess that we cannot save ourselves, and we are grateful for the good news of salvation in Christ alone. Please embolden us with the Holy Spirit Elizabeth, Simeon, and the shepherds to bear witness to Jesus.
It is in his name and for his sake that we pray, Amen.
God we thank you for the love and favor you extend to us who believe in Jesus Christ. We confess that we do not deserve your overwhelming grace towards sinners us. We praise you though for choosing to make us new creations through our union in Christ’s death and resurrection. Please turn us from evil thoughts and worldly distractions diverting our attention from you.
Allow the Holy Spirit to open up our eyes to clearly see your revelation in the Bible every day. Help us to learn from the examples of men and women that you have given us in your Word so that we might live more holy lives for your glory. Use your Church here and around the globe to shine brightly for our dark world.
We pray all this in the name of Jesus Christ and for his sake, Amen.
God we praise you for your compassionate heart. Give us the relentlessness of the good shepherd who goes after wandering sheep and never gives up. Protect us by your Holy Spirit from being easily discouraged and grant us the spiritual strength to endure the hardships we face. Please deliver us from a sour compulsive nature to envy others and resist your will.
Save us from a life of pretense and guard us from using religion as a mask to cover up our resistance to the claims of Jesus Christ on our lives. Father God, please help us during the seasons of grief and loss that we may endure to know that your Son lives, and that in him sorrow can never have the final word. We pray all this in the name of Jesus and for his sake, Amen.
Father God we are grateful for all that you’ve lavishly blessed us with through our union with Jesus Christ. We praise you for sealing us as your adopted children and making us rich inheritors of your everlasting kingdom.
We thank you for comforting us in our moments of weakness and tribulation with the assured knowledge that Christ you will raise us to life after death. We glorify you for the success that you have given to the Church as the Holy Spirit leads us to proclaim the good news to every tribe, every tongue, and every nation.
Lord, we confess that we have often wasted and squandered your blessings. Please forgive us and help us to invest every blessing we have for your kingdom so that you might use us as blessings to others.
If it be your will, we ask that you help us to win the favor of our family, friends, and co-workers by unashamedly living out our lives for the gospel and the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. We pray all this in his name and for his sake, Amen.
Father God we praise you for your absolute goodness, perfection, and holiness. We thank you for your Son, Jesus Christ, who was tempted in every way as we are and yet did not sin. We confess that in our weakness, we have shamefully enjoyed sins of the mind and body that we ought to have resisted.
Please forgive us for our unholy failures. Teach us to truly mourn our offenses against you and lead us by the Holy Spirit into faithful repentance. We are grateful for the overwhelming grace that we continue to experience each day because of Jesus’ death and resurrection.
Thank you for giving us the power of the Holy Spirit to face future temptations. Continue to sanctify us in our frail bodies as we eagerly await the return of your glorified Son. In a world full of darkness, make us your holy lights and gospel witnesses this week.
It is the name of Jesus Christ and for his sake that we pray, Amen.
Lord, we praise you for your righteousness and perfect judgments, for you are an incorruptible judge far greater than any corruptible government or sinful man. You are infinitely wise, truly knowing the thoughts, intentions, and hearts of every being that you have ever made.
We thank you promising to one day vindicate every lie, every betrayal, and every injustice that your Church endures. Please deliver us from a bitter spirit that so easily becomes resentment and hate when we feel wronged by others. Help us to see your divine purpose and trust in your goodness even in our own suffering and loss.Forgive us for the times when we suppress the truth of your promises and turn to go our own way. By your Holy Spirit, lead us into repentance, guard us from temptation, and sanctify us for your kingdom work among our family, friends, and co-workers this week.
Teach us more of the love of Christ that goes on loving even when it is slighted. It is the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus that we pray, Amen.
Father God, we praise you for the Holy Spirit who grants us wisdom, fills us with life, guards our hearts, and illuminates our mind to comprehend the good news of Jesus Christ. Let us settle for nothing less than the pure unadulterated truth that you have revealed to us in your Holy Word.
For we confess that apart from you we can do nothing. So please forgive us for the ways in which we have disobeyed your Word to put our own selfish desires before the needs of others. By the Holy Spirit we ask that you lead us into repentance and a life that glorifies you.
Help us to resist the allure of this world’s deceitful philosophies promising hollow pleasures that ultimately lead to death and destruction. Put a deep desire in our hearts to know the wisdom of the Bible and use it to transform and renew our mind.
Use each one of us to exemplify your holiness and love to this world as we aspire to follow Jesus and put his commands into action. Make us your gospel lights this week to those wandering in darkness among our families, friends, neighbors, and co-workers.
Embolden us as well as our brothers and sisters across the world to unashamedly proclaim our faith in Jesus Christ. Use our testimonies for your glory to help save souls. All this we pray in the name of Jesus, Amen.
God we praise you for your unfathomable grace. Though we deserved punishment for our sins, you were lavishly merciful to the world. In love and justice you gathered our iniquities, and you laid them upon your Son so that we might be forgiven. Enable us now by your Holy Spirit to turn from our own way in order to follow the way of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Guard us from conceited, self-righteous acts and from apathetic obedience to your commands. For those of us struggling with a spirit of rebellion, resistance, resentment, or doubt, we pray that you would grant them a spirit of peace. Thank you God for sharing with us your overwhelming victory over death. In the name of Jesus Christ and for his sake we pray, Amen.
Bible Study on Prayer — Adaptable for Adults, Youth or Children
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This Bible study on prayer wraps up our series on the Armor of God.
Prayer is not only how we put on God's Armor, it is what empowers it! During this series of lessons we have also been focusing on prayer because that’s where the battle is fought. Prayer brings what God can do.
The armor is God’s and on loan to us through His power…it is empowered by Him! Oh…and let’s remember, we may be in the battle, but the war has already been won!
We assume everyone knows how to pray, but in our world today religion and traditions can make it seem complicated. Simply put, Christian prayer is possible because of Jesus; we can communicate — talk with God! But prayer goes way beyond communication…it encompasses communion with the One and Only God!
We speak of «prayer life» because prayer is to be a constant part of our daily lives. Think about the times that most of us do pray — at church, during our quiet times, before meals, before bed, in times of crisis. Bible study on prayer can help us to hewn our skills as a soldier of Christ.
1 Thessalonians 5:17 tells us to pray continually (NIV), without ceasing (KJV and NAS), at all times (Message).
Lesson Summary: Prayer is what empowers God's Armor as we put each piece on.
Time: With a group of about 15 4th-6th graders, this Bible study on prayer lesson took about 1 hour. Actual teaching time took about 20 minutes and we allowed 30-40 minutes for prayer stations. Some parts can be deleted if you don't have that much time.
Preparation: Set up four prayer stations with materials as called for in each. Bible study on prayer printables are included for you to copy.
Focal Scriptures: Ephesians 6:18-19a
«With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints, 19 and pray»
Photo Credit: Pexels
5 Basics of How to Pray — Bible Study on prayer
The Bible is full of Scriptures on prayer commanding us to pray, and also telling us where to pray, how to pray, when to pray, who should pray, and for whom we should pray.
1 — Where to Pray:
Of course we can pray anywhere & anytime, but Jesus tells us where our attitude of prayer should always be:
Matthew 6:6: «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.»
2- How to Pray
In Matthew 6:9-15 Jesus tells us how to pray when He gives us the pattern for prayer in what is now referred to as the Lord's prayer.
«This, then, is how you should pray: «'Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.' For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
This model for a thriving prayer life consists of
- submission to His Will,
- petition for daily needs,
- request for forgiveness and protection.
Max Lucado includes a «pocket version» in his book — Before Amen. It gives us a simple way to remember Jesus' example.
You are good.
I need help. Heal me &forgive me.
They need help.
In Jesus’ name,
The Bible also instructs us to pray «in the Spirit». We are praying to the Father, through the Holy Spirit within us, made possible by the authority of Jesus.
Ephesians 6:18 reminds us to also pray in the Spirit — «Pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request, and stay alert in this with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints.»
3 — When to Pray
1 Thessalonians says: «pray continually;»
Ephesians 6:18 says: «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 saints.»
4 — Who Should Pray
Matthew 6:6 says: «But when you pray» … not if you pray. As believers it is the breath of our spiritual life to spend time in prayer with our Heavenly Father.
Again…in our focal verse for this Bible study on prayer — Ephesians 6:18, Paul emphasizes the importance of prayer.
5 — For Whom We Should Pray
- The saints — Ephesians 6:18 — «keep on praying for all the saints.
» (believers in Christ)
- Our enemies — Matthew 5:44 — «But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,»
- Everyone including leaders — 1 Timothy 2:1-2 — «I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone — for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.»
«Bible Study on Prayer» Stations
The following creative prayer stations may be used to allow time to apply what they have learned. Students may choose different stations and rotate or these may be used as a continuation of the Bible study on prayer lesson as a group.
#1 How to pray:
Doodling can actually help us stay on task as we pray. Use this Doodle Prayer page along with colored pencils or markers to help students think about the «how-to» of prayer.
They will review the basic aspects of the Bible study on prayer that deal with basic parts of prayer that can be included. You may also include a whisper phone to remind them that prayer is a two way conversation with God.
When they whisper their prayers into the phone it will remind them that God is listening when they pray and He is also wanting them to listen as He speaks to their heart.
#2 When you Pray: Praying Through Your Daily Routine
For this creative prayer station, have a clock with movable hands or a paper clock. Have students move the hour hands as they pretend to go through a regular day.
Move the hands to when they wake up and spend a few minutes praising God for Who He is and what He has done. Move the clock hands to what time they shower or bath and take time to confess and ask God for forgiveness.
The following can be written or printed out for this station as a guide.
- When you first wake up — Praise our Creator
- When you shower or bathe — Ask for cleansing of your soul; confess, repent & receive forgiveness
- When you eat — Give thanks not only for the food, but for your family, home, life, etc.
- When you go to work or school — Pray for those with whom you come into contact
- When you go to bed — Take time to think over your day thanking God again for His presence and «presents/gifts»! Also, pray for others the Holy Spirit brings to your mind as you are still and begin to rest.
#3 Who should pray
As a follower of Jesus we are to pray! Although God could do everything with out us, He chooses to include us in His work and prayer is an essential part of that.
In this station for Bible study on prayer, provide a copy of the «Knots Prayer» and an 8 inch piece of yarn for each student. Leave directions for them to pray the prayer realizing who they are in Christ and to tie a knot each time the prayer uses the word «not».
Tell them to remember these «knots» they can pray when they think they are «not» enough.
#4 For Whom do we pray: Five Finger Prayer
Have materials for students to trace one of their hands onto a piece of paper. Print out the following five-finger prayer and have them write names of people for each finger category and take time to prayer for them.
How to Pray the Five-Finger Prayer:
- Your thumb is nearest to you. So begin your prayers by praying for those closest to you. They are the easiest to remember. To pray for our loved ones is, as C.S. Lewis once said, a «sweet duty».
- The next finger is the pointing finger. Pray for those who teach, instruct and heal. This includes teachers, doctors, and ministers. They need support and wisdom in pointing others in the right direction. Keep them in your prayers.
- The next finger is the tallest finger. It reminds us of our leaders. Pray for the president, leaders in business and industry, and administrators. These people shape our nation and guide public opinion. They need God's guidance!
- The fourth finger is our ring finger. Surprising to many is the fact that this is our weakest finger; as any piano teacher will testify. It should remind us to pray for those who are weak, in trouble or in pain. They need your prayers day and night. You cannot pray too much for them.
- And lastly comes our little finger; the smallest finger of all. Which is where we should place ourselves in relation to God and others. As the Bible says, «the least shall be the greatest among you.» Your pinky should remind you to pray for yourself. By the time you have prayed for the other four groups, your own needs will be put into proper perspective and you will be able to pray for yourself more effectively.
Printable copy of this Bible study on Prayer
More Creative Prayer Stations ideas can be found to make Bible study on prayer a continual process.
Armor of God Bible Study Series
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