I used to think that praying was a weakness of mine and that I was really bad at it.
Whether I was alone or in a group, when it was time to pray, I often felt like I just couldn’t come up with the right words (if any!).
In my faith tradition, I saw a lot of people speak beautifully and spontaneously—and that was hard for me.
Over time, I’ve grown in confidence. There isn’t just one way to pray.
As I’ve studied many Bible verses about prayer, I’ve been encouraged to learn that there are endless ways to pray and connect with God!
Whether you speak aloud from the heart, recite a common prayer, or contemplate in silence while the Holy Spirit moves, they all have their place.
Related Reading: Tired of Boring, Routine Prayers? Here are 10 New Ways to Pray!
What Does the Bible Say About Prayer?
The Bible presents prayer as the way people communicate directly with God, their Creator. It includes many examples and encourages believers to approach the Lord with faith, humility, and perseverance while seeking His guidance, wisdom, comfort, and strength.
There are many Bible verses about prayer that demonstrate practical and powerful ways the people of the Bible could pray—and we can, too.
Examining Verses About Prayer in Hebrew and Greek
When we read Bible verses about prayer in modern English, they are translated from the ancient languages the Bible was originally written in, Hebrew and Greek. These words are rich with meaning—in fact, multiple words in the Biblical text are translated to “prayer” in English.
If you want to take a deeper dive, take a look at a free resource like Blue Letter Bible, where you can see how words are translated and what they mean.
It’s also helpful to examine commentary from experts in those languages to understand the full meaning of verses about prayer. For example, according to AlephBeta,
Tefillah (Heb. תפילה; te-feel-ah) is the Hebrew word for prayer. The word itself contains a range of meanings. The Hebrew root פלל connotes “executing judgment” (Exodus 21:22) or “thinking” (Genesis 48:11). In this sense, the word להתפלל, to pray, may also refer to a process of accounting or contemplation.
While tefillah is the most common, generic word for prayer, the Bible uses many other terms as well. For example, the word עתירה (atirah), related to “digging” (Genesis 25:21); תחינה (techina), which means “supplication” or “begging” (Deuteronomy 3:23); and שיח (siach), which connotes “conversation” (Genesis 24:64, Pslams 102:1). The Bible has a rich vocabulary of prayer that represents a broad range of different approaches and types of prayers, each with its own unique quality and flavor (emphasis added).
In Greek, the language of the New Testament, the word most commonly translated to “prayer” is proseuche. This article on prayer from Renner Ministries explains the significance of that word to the original audience.
As you can see, there is much to learn about prayer in the Bible! The verses about prayer listed below are just the beginning (but they’re a great place to start).
Related Reading: How to Study the Bible for Beginners
25 Meaningful Bible Verses About Prayer
There are so many Bible verses about prayer that the best way to consider all of them would just be to read the whole Word of God!
However, if you’d like to reference a few, this selection from both the Old and New Testaments covers many of the elements of why and how to pray.
All of these Bible verses about prayer are found in the NIV (New International Version), but you could also read them in the King James Version (KJV) or English Standard Version (ESV).
1. Exodus 33:11
The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend…
I love how one of the earliest verses about prayer paints a picture of two friends talking to each other. That is a beautiful way to approach praying to God.
2. 1 Samuel 1:27
I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him.
This verse is part of one of the longer Scriptures about prayer: the story of Hannah, the prophet Samuel’s mother. She was in great anguish about her infertility and poured out her heart to God in lament and begged for a child. He granted her request.
This is one of the first examples of a prayer of supplication: humbly asking God to provide something.
3. 2 Chronicles 7:14
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.
These Scriptures on prayer present a message from God to His people who have rebelled. He reminds them that no matter what they have done, if they seek Him in humble repentance, He will offer forgiveness and healing.
4. Psalms 13:1–2
How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart?
These verses about prayer take the form of lament. There are many prayer Scriptures like this in the Bible. We can take our pain and our questions to God in prayer, even when it seems like He doesn’t see us.
5. Psalm 27:7–8
Hear my voice when I call, Lord; be merciful to me and answer me. My heart says of you, ‘Seek his face!’ Your face, Lord, I will seek.
The Psalmist here demonstrates boldness; these Bible verses about prayer show how we can approach God in a way that asks for His attention.
6. Psalm 34:17
The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.
In one of many verses about prayer in the Psalms, this prayer Scripture reminds us that God hears us when we pray and cry out to Him. He will answer.
7. Psalm 55:17
Evening, morning, and noon I cry out in distress, and he hears my voice.
Once again, God hears. Note that the writer in this Scripture on prayer calls out to God repeatedly.
8. Psalm 59:16
But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble.
Not all verses about prayer are requests for help. In this Psalm, the writer offers a song of praise for God’s great power and love, which is instructive for our prayers.
9. Psalm 145:18
The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.
This Scripture on prayer reminds us that not only does God answer prayer, but He is near to those who call on Him. You can remember this when it seems like He is far away.
10. Jeremiah 29:11–12
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.”
These famous verses about prayer paint the picture of the relationship between God and His people who are in exile. This is part of a longer letter in which He tells them to be patient while they wait 70 long years for their deliverance.
Even though it seems like He is slow to answer, He offers hope and a future for them and will listen to their prayers.
11. Matthew 6:5–8
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.
Jesus has several verses about prayer in the Sermon on the Mount. His point here is that prayer full of empty phrases done for show is its own reward. Meaningful prayer has nothing to do with performance and is all about your relationship with God, like a parent and child.
12. Matthew 6:9–13 (also Luke 11:2–4)
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. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one.”
In these verses about prayer, known as the Lord’s prayer, Jesus continues teaching by providing a framework for talking to God. It is simple yet profound, summarizing who God is and how we may humbly approach Him.
13. Matthew 7:7–8 (also Luke 11:9–10)
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.
Towards the end of the Sermon on the Mount, there are more verses about prayer in which Jesus encourages His followers to be bold in their prayers. A loving God wants to provide good gifts to His children.
14. Matthew 26:39
Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”
In more verses about prayer later in Matthew, Jesus provides an example before He goes to the cross. He is in great distress and is honest about it, but He is still ultimately surrendered to the will of God.
15. Mark 11:24
Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
This Scripture on prayer challenges us not just to ask God for our desires, but to believe that we will receive them.
16. John 16:21–24
“A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. In that day you will no longer ask me anything. Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.”
These verses on prayer are a little more cryptic, but Jesus is trying to provide His disciples with hope during a time of sorrow, which is temporary.
He reminds them that God will give them what they ask for. And because of who He is, they can pray in His name—with His authority.
17. Romans 8:26
“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.”
Sometimes, we don’t know what to say when we talk to God, and that’s okay. There are many times I’ve sat in wordless contemplation.
This Scripture on prayer says that the Spirit prays for us in mysterious groanings, which is a great comfort if you’ve ever been overwhelmed, numb, or wordless for any reason.
18. Ephesians 6:18
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.
Paul instructs believers in this Scripture on prayer to talk to God on all kinds of occasions. Nothing is trivial or off the table—in fact, if we’re alert, we can be in prayer pretty constantly.
19. Philippians 4:6–7
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
These are some of my favorite Bible verses about prayer because they address the heart. In every situation, we can ask God for help, find gratitude, and seek the powerful peace of God through Christ.
20. 1 Thessalonians 5:16–18
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
The Apostle Paul seems to be hitting on a theme in his verses about prayer! We are to pray without ceasing, with gratitude.
21. Hebrews 4:15–16
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
These Bible verses about prayer remind us that we are not talking to some distant power. Jesus, our “high priest,” became fully human and understands everything we go through.
We can thus be confident going to God, who listens, understands, and helps us when in need.
22. James 5:16
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
These Scriptures on prayer make it clear that it is something to be done in the community. When we pray with each other and for each other, we find God’s power and healing.
23. 1 Timothy 2:1–2
I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.
In his instructions to a young pastor, the Apostle Paul says that we are to pray for everyone, especially those in power who may or may not honor God. These are challenging verses about prayer because they nudge us to look at the big picture and find hope in God’s kingdom when we pray.
24. 1 Peter 5:7
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
In one of the simplest Scriptures about prayer, the Apostle Peter says to cast all our cares on the one who cares for us.
25. Revelation 5:8
And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people.
It’s appropriate to wrap up these Bible verses about prayer with this image of what prayer looks like to God. It says the prayers of His people are like incense to Him. Through our prayers, we worship Him and fill up His house with wonderful fragrance.
Related Reading: How to Start Prayer Journaling (With 20 Prompts for Women!)
Want to put some of these Bible verses about prayer into practice? I have 7 days of prayer prompts to get you started.
What do you think about these Bible verses about prayer? What did you learn, and what do you want to apply to your own life?