How Many Times Is Prayer Mentioned In The Bible? (What Does It Mean To Pray?)

Even before I could make sense of the world, my family made it clear that prayer was necessary – the one thing that connected all humanity with a higher power that made all things possible – good or bad. Unfortunately, it wasn’t until a little over a decade ago that I made sense of things and the importance of prayer. As I continue studying and learning more about the Bible and the power of prayer, I thought I’d share some interesting insights and facts about prayer. For example, how many times is prayer mentioned in the Bible?

Prayer is mentioned at least 127 times in the New Testament alone, but with different bible translations and versions, there could be as many as 300-850 mentions of prayer throughout the Bible. These differences come about because of different Greek translations for the word prayer and the fact that Prayer and Pray are often used interchangeably. 

In this post, I’ll share more insights into the meaning of prayer according to the scriptures, the use of the word ‘prayer’ in the Bible, types of prayers, and bible verses about prayers. Read on to learn more!

What does the Bible say about prayers in the Bible?

How Many Times Is Prayer Mentioned In The Bible? 
What does the Bible say about prayers in the Bible? Image source: Pixabay

The Bible explains that prayer represents a loving communication between humankind and God and can be regarded as an expression of an individual’s innermost spiritual needs. It’s also believed that it’s through prayer that believers gain strength, joy, wisdom, guidance, and inner peaceIsaiah 58:9-11, Psalms 118:5-6, Philippians 4:6-7, and Psalms 138:8. 

It’s further implied that prayers can be loud or silent, done in a group or alone, and the prayers can be short or long – the underlying intention being communicating with God.

Prayer is also believed to be an essential form of expression of one’s trust and faith in God, a way through which one confesses their sins, a way of praising the Almighty for His great deeds, and also a form of communication through which believers make requests for their own needs and wellbeing and also for those of others. For many others, prayers are a form of thanksgiving for the good received throughout life.

In Matthew 7:7-11, it’s mentioned that God answers prayers, but only if you ask for what you ask for. It’s believed that the prayer is the medium through which God answers prayers and also gives believers everything that they need and so much more – Mark 11:24 and John 15:7. However, the Bible further notes in Psalm 40:1-3 that prayer is never a magic trick, neither is it a quick fix, which means that even when praying fervently, God answers your prayer requests in His own time and also at His time.

It’s also worth noting that the Bible scriptures point out that God doesn’t answer all prayers. Specifically, He won’t answer or grant requests which are unholy or against His wisdom (1 John 5:14-16), selfish prayers, prayer requests not in your best interests long-term, or the kinds of prayers made with wrong or impure motives. These are seen in Isaiah 29:13, Proverbs 28:9, Psalms 66:18, and James 4:3.

Additionally, people are encouraged to pray persistently in Luke 18:1-8 while also keeping in mind that answers to prayers often take different and unexpected forms, hence the need for alertness while waiting for answers because God uses different people, things, and events, to answer prayers – 2 Corinthians 12:7-9, Daniel 10:11-12, and Acts 9:10-17. In many ways, prayer is seen as an important expression of spirituality, with Christ’s devotees praying to God about different things to express and grow their spirituality.

Lastly, the Bible reminds us that while He answers prayers through different events or people around us, the answers to our prayer requests may also come from within us, and the only way of knowing if the prayers have been answered is by being aware and praying persistently; it’s also important to look at things in a different way or with a new attitude/ perspective and also to make amends to those we may have wronged. Matthew 5:8; 6:14-15, Romans 2:1-5.

What does it mean to pray according to the Bible?

Different verses in the bible regard prayer as a way of talking to God because through prayer, you have an invitation to communicate and commune with the Ruler of the entire universe and tell Him all about your problems or what you feel. 

In other words, praying means lovingly communicating with the Lord and expressing one’s spiritual needs. It also represents an expression of one’s trust and faith in the Lord and a particular time spent communicating with God. It’s believed that through prayer, we get to draw closer to God and ask for His help, and also a time during which God meets us at the time of our needs,

Types Of Prayer In The Bible

How Many Times Is Prayer Mentioned In The Bible?
Types Of Prayer In The Bible. Image source: Pixabay

Christians believe there are four types of prayers that Christians should use or consider when praying, depending on their intentions. The main types of prayers seen in the Bible are as follows:

Adoration Prayer

This is the kind of prayer that focuses on the Lord’s worship, and it’s characterized by respect, admiration, and love. Adoration prayers stem from an individual being in deep awe of God’s Goodness, and His deedsPsalm 148:13, Psalm 5:7, and 1 Chronicles 29:11. Adoration prayers are more or less displays of adoration, allowing us to praise God through prayers.

Thanksgiving Prayer

Thanksgiving prayers represent a reflection on the Goodness of God through thanksgiving prayers. In these prayers, you not only thank God for all that you have in life but also for His salvation, protection, and love. Thanksgiving prayer is demonstrated in Philippians 4:6-7 also reminds Christians always to express their gratitude for the Lord’s love and kindness.

Contrition/ Repentance

Also called penitence prayer, it represents and is associated with remorsefulness, so the prayers mean speaking to God and asking His forgiveness. Contrition is quite common for believers of the Catholic faith, and prayer is used by the faithful to seek forgiveness through different acts of contrition, like confessing sins in confessionals and the priest giving penance. Besides confessing sins, faithful believers recite the Lord’s Prayer to seek and acquire forgiveness. Examples of contrition prayers are demonstrated in Psalm 34:18 and 1 John 1:9, describing God’s forgiveness accessed through prayers.

Confession or contrition prayers ask Christians to acknowledge their sins and ask for forgiveness. Believers also believe that through this prayer, they’d be forgiven all the guilts of their sins – Psalms 32:5.

Prayer of Supplication 

The other type of prayer mentioned in the Bible is the prayer of supplication, a humble and earnest prayer made when faced with troubling times. Through this prayer, you can ask God for his support, guidance, and forgiveness of sins. Hebrews 4:16 is a verse about the supplication prayer through which Christians are encouraged to boldly approach God’s throne in humility so that they can find Mercy and Grace to help them get through trying times.

Prayer of Quiet Reflection

Psalm 63:6 teaches the type of prayer that’s made in quiet reflection. Through this prayer, you are drawn from a place of noise and words to a place of quiet and silence that encourage reflection. Through this prayer, a form of meditation, you can reflect on the Goodness and love of God. The prayer also helps you listen more and heed God’s guidance.

Prayer for Healing

The other kind of prayer encouraged in the Bible is the prayer of healing. This prayer is often used when you require restoration of the physical body and emotional wounds and for spiritual wholeness. This prayer is considered a key component in the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ, as he spent a lot of time healing the physically ill Jeremiah 17:14.

The Bible also mentions other kinds of prayers like the intercession prayer, prayer for healing and deliverance, and prayer for blessings.

How many prayers can you find in the Bible?

How Many Times Is Prayer Mentioned In The Bible? 
How many prayers can you find in the Bible? Image source: Freepik

There are at least 8 different subgroups of prayers. The main types of prayers include prayers of worship, consecration, intercession, imprecation, thanksgiving, agreement, supplication, and thanksgiving. Other types of prayers are grouped as prayers of vows that ask for God’s guidance, strength, and help in fulfilling the promises made to oneself and God, confession prayers, contrition prayers, prayers of thanksgiving, prayers of quiet reflection, healing prayers, deliverance prayer, intercession, supplication, and adoration.

Other types of prayers include prayers for relinquishment, tears, and broken hearts, transformational prayers, covenant prayers, prayers for rest, and sacramental, meditative, and contemplative prayers.

What is the first prayer in the Bible?

The first prayer in the Bible is believed to have been recorded in Genesis 4:10, which talks about how God communicated with Cain, letting him know that he could hear his slain brother’s voice coming from the ground. This verse represents the belief that God heard the cries of his slain brother, who, despite Cain’s attempt to hide evidence, God saw it all and noted that all evil deeds would be brought to light. Abel’s cries were believed to be a form of prayer, and God heard this prayer because of His omnipotence.

Also, Genesis 4:26 mentions prayers and notes that men started calling out the name of God after Seth was blessed with a son called Enosh.

Also, the Hebrew Bible and Torah mentioned prayer, and praying is believed to have taken place when Abraham was pleading with God asking him to have mercy on the people of Sodom and Gomorrah – Genesis 18:32.

What is the most common prayer in the Bible?

The Lord’s Prayer is the most common prayer. Unlike other types of prayers perceived as inspired prayers, the Lord’s Prayer is written in scripture in Matthew 6:9-13, and it’s the prayer that Jesus Christ taught his disciples. As a result, the Lord’s Prayer is also the most famous prayer used by believers across pretty much all Christian denominations. Jesus used this prayer to instruct his disciples and followers not only to pray but to pray to God in this specific way. It’s believed that the Lord’s Prayer was more of a prayer template than a script, but the initial words used remain true to date.

What was Jesus’ first prayer in the New Testament?

Besides performing miracles, one of the notable things recorded about Jesus and His deeds would be the fact that he spent a great deal of time praying, so he also instructed his followers and all that could listen to him to pray. The Lord’s Prayer is one of his biggest teaching tools, and he taught this prayer on the MountainMatthew 6:9-13.

It’s worth noting that while Jesus prayed a great deal, his prayer sessions weren’t recorded since Jesus preferred retreating into the mountains and other secluded places to pray – Luke 5:16, Mark 1:35, Luke 6:12, and Matthew 14:23.

Why does the Bible encourage us to pray?

There are several reasons why the Bible encourages us to pray, but the most common ones are as follows:

  • Thanksgiving – This is the most common theme in prayers by Jesus Christ. Jesus gave thanks all the time, and he reminded his followers to pray with thanksgiving, as recorded in Philippians 4:6-7.
  • Encouraging communication with God – prayer is considered the most effective form of communication between God and humankind, and Jesus encouraged Christians to talk to God – Ephesians 3:12, while also seeking the will of God above the will of God. Jesus also encouraged believers to pray at all times, whether going through joy or sorrow.
  • Intercession – we are also encouraged to pray because it is an effective way through which Christians can intercede on behalf of others. Jesus used prayer as a way of interceding on behalf of believers.
  • Blessing – Jesus also used prayer to bless his Disciples and followers. Praying is also a way of asking God for blessings.

How many times does the Bible say to pray?

What Does It Mean To Pray?
How many times does the Bible say to pray? Image source: Freepik

The word pray, and variations of the word have been used 313 times across the ESV version of the Bible. However, the exact number is unclear since there are different bible translations, and the words pray, prayer, prayed, or praying are often used interchangeably.

Notably, the word prayer used in the New Testament was translated from the Greek word ‘proseuche,’ and there are about 127 versions of the word ‘pray used throughout the Bible.

Bible verses about prayer

Ephesians 6:18 – This verse teaches about the prayer of supplication when taking requests to God and reminds believers that winning spiritual battles lies in praying without ceasing.

Philippians 4:6 – this verse teaches about gratitude and the importance of thanking God in prayer before or when making requests to God.

Acts 2:42 – In this verse, Jesus encourages His disciples to pray together and also encourages believers to always pray alongside others.

Mark 9:23 – In this verse, the Bible reminds believers of the importance of praying and that we should believe in God’s Goodness and power.

James 5:15 – This verse teaches about the importance of prayer and having faith when praying, regardless of what you’re praying for.

Acts 13:2-3 – These verses teach about the prayer of worship or adoration. It reminds believers of the importance of thanksgiving, exalting God, and praying through fasting to worship God.

Matthew 26:39 – This verse is a reminder for Christians to follow the will of God and pray, even when asking that God’s will be done.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 – This bible verse talks about rejoicing always and praying ceaselessly while being thankful in every circumstance.

Matthew 6:6 – This verse gives guidance for Christians concerning how they should pray. It also notes that people should pray in secret.

Colossians 4:2 – This is a bible verse about praying without ceasing.

Romans 8:26 – This verse notes that the spirit of God will lead believers during prayer, especially during times of weakness.

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