Introduction to
Great Prayers of the Bible

by Dr. Ralph F. Wilson
Audio Version (4:38)

St. Francis of Assisi (1585-90), by Annibale Carracci  (Italian painter, 1560-1609). Larger image.
I want to learn to pray better, more effectively, more meaningfully. So often I fall short. You may have had a similar experience. I believe that as we study together some of the great prayers in the Bible, we can learn better how to pray.

Over 11 weeks we'll be studying the prayers of Jesus, Abraham, Moses, and Paul. We'll join David in prayers of deep repentance and high praise. We'll observe as Hezekiah, Daniel, and Nehemiah call out to their God. As we study together, hopefully we can learn from their faith and boldness.

So what are the great prayers? Jesus uttered many short prayers to his Father that accomplished huge results. But we don't learn as much from the sentence or two that is recorded in the Bible, so I've looked for longer prayers that help us understanding the dynamics of the prayer better. The prayers I've chosen differ from similar studies of the great prayers, an indication that there are more than enough great prayers to go around. This study is by no means comprehensive or exhaustive.

If you're just new to prayer, I'll try to introduce you to a few of the many of kinds of prayers that you find in the Bible. First, though, I want to introduce you to the helpful acronym ACTS, which helps guide us in our prayers:



Praise and worship of God for who he is.



Confessing our sins and receiving his forgiveness.



Giving thanks for all God's blessings and answers to our prayers.



Asking God for specific things. Petition is another word for this. When you ask God to meet someone else's needs, it is called intercession, the act of interceding.

As we study prayer together, we'll begin with Jesus' pattern prayer, The Lord's Prayer. Then we'll examine other prayers to see what pleases God about them. Often it is the attitude and faith of the prayer that we must learn to model. Many of these prayers are from the Old Testament, but don't consider them inferior for that reason. We learn much from them. Finally, we'll consider a couple of prayers from the New Testament.

Great Prayers of the Bible: Discipleship Lessons in Petition and Intercession, by Dr. Ralph F. Wilson (JesusWalk Publications, 2011)
Available as an e-book and paperbook

As we study, our desire is to learn to pray better. Prayers that meet God's conditions. Prayers that pray according to God's will. By the time we finish, about three months from now I hope that we will have internalized some of these principles.


Father, as we embark on this study of prayer, we humbly confess that we are novices. But we come longing to learn to know you through prayer. Teach us through your word, through the example of your saints. Teach us also by your Holy Spirit as you interpret the Word to our hearts. And guide us in our attempts to apply what we've learned in actual prayer. We rely on you to guide us and know you will. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.


Copyright © 2024, Ralph F. Wilson. <> All rights reserved. A single copy of this article is free. Do not put this on a website. See legal, copyright, and reprint information.

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