Prayer Guide: What Every Believer Needs to Know

In this prayer guide, learn how to pray, discover common questions about prayer, learn the difference between the Lord’s Prayer and spiritual warfare, and more.

One of the most important things that a Christian can do is pray. It’s a time where we’re communicating with God, and we need to take this time seriously. Theologically speaking, there’s a deep meaning in prayer, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. It doesn’t have to be difficult. It’s something that anybody can do at any time, anywhere, however we need to take it seriously.

— Ps. TJ Hall

How to Pray

When he finished praying in a certain place, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John also taught his disciples.” Luke 11:1

In the study of a subject, it’s helpful to dive into the 5W’s (or the who, what, when, where, why, and sometimes how). I’m going to take you through each of these to learn how to pray. Even if you’ve been saved a long time you might learn something new from this prayer guide. 

Who to Pray To

First, who are you addressing in prayer? God (or the Triune being). The Bible doesn’t instruct us to pray to angels, the dead, or other people. Just to God.

What to Pray

You can pray your own words, but it’s good to pray the Word. God said in Isaiah 43:26 to remind Him: “Put me in remembrance. Let us plead together. Declare your case, that you may be justified.” When you pray the Word, you are reminding God, giving the devil notice, and building your faith. 

God says a couple of powerful statements about what He is going to do with His word. Check these out:

Then the LORD said to me, “You have seen well; for I watch over my word to perform it.” Jeremiah 1:12

The words “watch over” there come from the Hebrew šāqaḏ (H8245). The Complete Word Study Dictionary: Old Testament describes it this way, “a verb meaning to watch; to guard…It indicates a state of being vigilant, lying awake, watching; especially of God’s watching over His word to do it. (1192)

So is my word that goes out of my mouth: it will not return to me void, but it will accomplish that which I please, and it will prosper in the thing I sent it to do. Isaiah 55:11

God is expectant that His word will be fruitful and you can expect the same. 

Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. Matthew 24:35

So find at least one verse that is applicable to the need or situation and pray the promise or truth from that.

When to Pray

You probably already know that you can pray at any time. Going through trials certainly tends to drive us to our knees, right? Even Jesus prayed when He was facing the cross.

But what about the other times? But why do Christians find it so difficult to pray with consistency?

Well, prayer is a spiritual discipline that may not come naturally to humans. You’d need to build the habit.

Jesus withdrew regularly to pray. He set the example for you. 

The Bible says when to pray:

  • continuing steadfastly in prayer (Romans 12:12)
  • praying always (Ephesians 6:18) 
  • pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17)

Now a literal interpretation of “always” and “without ceasing” is impossible, of course. Humans have to eat and sleep. So when do you pray? The Lord desires that His people persist in prayer, whether in good times or bad! 

So keep coming before the Throne. Jesus uses a parable to demonstrate this point in Luke 18:1-8:

He also spoke a parable to them that they must always pray and not give up, (emphasis mine) 2 saying, “There was a judge in a certain city who didn’t fear God and didn’t respect man. 3 A widow was in that city, and she often came to him, saying, ‘Defend me from my adversary!’ 4  He wouldn’t for a while; but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, 5  yet because this widow bothers me, I will defend her, or else she will wear me out by her continual coming.’ ”

6 The Lord said, “Listen to what the unrighteous judge says. 7  Won’t God avenge his chosen ones who are crying out to him day and night, and yet he exercises patience with them? 8  I tell you that he will avenge them quickly. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”

Where to Pray

You can pray anywhere! Keep in mind though, that Jesus often withdrew to an isolated place to pray. Where’s a place without distractions that you could take your prayer list and pray?

Why to Pray

Here are some reasons behind prayer:

  • Prayer is God’s idea.
  • It’s communication.
  • It’s an important way to interact with Him as much as worship or Bible reading.
  • He commanded us to pray.
  • It’s a way to advance the Kingdom.

How to Pray – Notice This Verb

When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray in Luke 11:1, Jesus’ response (in verse 2) was, “He said to them, ‘When you pray, say,’” and He continued with what we know as The Lord’s Prayer.

But did you notice that important verb? Say. Jesus said, “When you pray, say.” He didn’t say to think to Him. As comical as that sounds, it’s true!

So when you pray, you can open your mouth and do one or more of the following:

  • Confess
  • Ask
  • Declare
  • Intercede
  • Thank
  • Praise 

Common Questions About Prayer

Even if you’ve been a Christian for a long time, at one time or another, you may have wondered one or more of these common questions about prayer. The answers to the questions in this prayer guide are what every Believer needs to know.

Does God hear me when I pray?

Yes, God hears His people pray according to several verses in the Bible. Some to note are:

Proverbs 15:29 – The LORD is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayer of the righteous. 

John 9:31 – We know that God doesn’t listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does his will, he listens to him.

1 Peter 3:12 – For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears open to their prayer; but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.

Can I ask for anything?

The Bible gives a caution about asking for something that would fulfill a lust. James 4:3 says, “You ask, and don’t receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.” Technically, you could ask for anything, but don’t expect God to answer foolishness.

Instead, endeavor to pray according to God’s will:

And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: 15 And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him. 1 John 5:14-15 KJV

Your next question might be, well, how do I know if I’m praying accordion to God’s will? That’s why it’s a good practice to find verses that are applicable to your situation. If you’re not sure, ask your pastor, mentor, or a trusted leader.

Another option is using the Scripture Arsenal: Your Spiritual Warfare Manual which includes verses in full organized into 39 topics. Get your copy here.

Are there hindrances to prayer?

Yes, if you are living in willful sin. 

Isaiah 59:2 – But your iniquities have separated you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear. 

Another example of this is in Micah 3:4 – Then they will cry to the LORD, but he will not answer them. Yes, he will hide his face from them at that time, because they made their deeds evil.

Do I need to bow my head and close my eyes?

Jesus didn’t always.

Mark 7:34 – Looking up to heaven, he sighed, and said to him, “Ephphatha!” that is, “Be opened!”

John 11:41 – So they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you listened to me. 

John 17:1 – Jesus said these things, then lifting up his eyes to heaven, he said, “Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may also glorify you.”

However, it’s certainly fine to do, as it does help keep out distractions! 

Why do we say, “in Jesus’ name” at the end?

When you pray, you are praying in Jesus’ name, meaning with His authority. Let me put it to you this way. If I had a bank account and added your name, then you could sign the checks to take money out of that account. I’d be backing you. I gave you the authority to use that money. 

In the same way, Jesus gave you power to pray in His name, and He backs you. Isn’t that awesome?

You don’t need to tack on “in Jesus’ name” only at the end of a prayer; you could start with it, or put it in the middle somewhere. I try to do that to keep it from becoming a formula or making it seem like a “magic phrase” that grants desires. 

The Difference Between The Lord’s Prayer and Spiritual Warfare

The Lord’s Prayer is a pattern of what you need to cover in prayer on a regular basis. Here’s the account in Matthew 6:9-13.

Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy. 10 Let your Kingdom come. Let your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us today our daily bread. 12 Forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors. 13 Bring us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For yours is the Kingdom, the power, and the glory forever. Amen.

To give the broadest overview, pray:

  • by acknowledging and adoring the name of God
  • praying for His will
  • looking to Him for your spiritual and physical nourishment
  • forgiving others
  • repenting of your sins
  • asking for strength against temptation and the enemy
  • giving all glory to God

Remember the account of Jesus’ exchange of spiritual warfare in the wilderness against the enemy? Jesus refuted every lie and rebuked every scheme with what is written in the Word. 

So the bottom line is, you pray when the enemy is attacking you, and you pray when the enemy isn’t attacking you! 

What about the spiritual warfare around you? Are you aware of the types of attacks coming against you? And even more importantly, how to pray with precision against them? If you want to learn more and have a victorious prayer life, then get your copy of the Scripture Arsenal: Your Liberating Spiritual Warfare Manual.

The A.C.T.S. Prayer Method

The ACTS prayer method, popularized by its simplicity, has been around for a long time. If you don’t know where to start, use this method. It’s an acronym that stands for the following:

A – Adoration. Begin your prayer time with adoring your God in worship and praise, lifting up His holy name.

C – Confession. God forgave your sins when you accepted Jesus as Lord, but as you grow in Him, you come into a greater understanding of what sin might still be present in your life. Now is a good time to confess those sins and receive His forgiveness.

T – Thanksgiving. Next thank God for the blessings in your life, big and small. It gives Him glory and gives you joy. 

S – Supplication. Finally, supplication refers to requests, pleas, and petitions. Ask God for your needs as well as for others’ needs. When you do, pray His promises back to Him!

Prayer Resources to Strengthen Your Prayer Life

This prayer guide wouldn’t be complete without adding prayer resources. You might want to bookmark this page so you can refer back to all these!

Posts on Prayer

How Not to Pray: Examples of Misguided Prayer

Is it Okay to Test God’s Voice with a Fleece?

How to Pray When You Need Direction

How to Pray When You’re Desperate to Hear God’s Voice

5 Powerful Prayers for Your Morning Time with God

eBooks to Help You Pray with Precision

What about the spiritual warfare around you? Are you aware of the types of attacks coming against you? And even more importantly, how to pray with precision against them? 

The Scripture Arsenal: Your Liberating Spiritual Warfare Manual will give you a greater understanding of spiritual warfare and awareness of the spiritual attacks against your life. Learn how to pray with precision and fight victoriously. Get your copy of the Scripture Arsenal here.

Use these concise daily prayers to help you live yielded to God in every area of life. Add the general ones to your morning prayers or pick a specific topic to pray. Or get the 45 Daily Prayers eBook from the Live Yielded Shop.

If this prayer guide didn’t answer one of your questions, let me know, and I’ll add it! Did you learn anything new?

In this biblical prayer guide, learn how to pray, discover common questions about prayer, and get resources to strengthen your prayer life. #Prayer #LiveYielded Click To Tweet