If you’re looking for insight on what the BIble says about prayer, you’re in the right place because in this article, I’ll be sharing what prayer is, why it’s a good thing to do, and addressing common myths about prayer.
Hopefully, when you’re finished reading this article, you’ll have a better understanding of what the Bible says about prayer and how it applies to you.
I grew up in a Christian household where prayer was emphasized. We were taught to pray before eating, sleeping, making serious decisions, to give thanks, and whenever we thought about it.
In contrast, I had many friends whose parents didn’t really talk much about prayer. I also experienced difficult life challenges where I had to decide whether prayer was the best thing to do to resolve the issues, and at times, I’ve chosen to pray, and other times, I’ve chosen not to.
As a result, I have experiences approaching life circumstances with and without prayer.
Even to this day, some of my friends are Christian, and some aren’t. I’ve been around people who think prayer isn’t “cool”, and I’ve had to decide how to apply prayer to my life (even if it isn’t a social norm). For me, prayer is something that I personally believe helps, however, I’m familiar with many different approaches to the topic.
1. What is Prayer?
Prayer is an act that’s done in many religions to communicate to a higher power.
In the Christian religion, prayer is done to communicate to God.
2. Why is Prayer Good?
For many people, they appreciate the practice of separating themselves and their thoughts to regain emotional control. Prayer can be a practice that’s done to “regain a center”, however, prayer is also done to connect with God, to give thanks, and to feel an inner peace that comes with knowing you can rely on a powerful force stronger than yourself.
3. What does the Bible say about Prayer Frequency?
The Bible has several scriptures that encourage prayer. There’s no scripture that mandates prayer to be done at a certain volume per day, however, there are scriptures that say you should make prayer an ongoing habit.
Here are a few…
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. – Phillipians 4:6
“Pray without ceasing” – 1 Thessalonians 5:17
4. Are short prayers better than long prayers?
Scriptures demonstrate people who prayed for long periods of time (like Moses or Jesus who fasted for 40 days and 40 nights), however, it doesn’t specifically say that there’s additional effectiveness when you pray for a long period of time versus a short one.
The most effective prayers are done when the condition of your heart is pure. Some people pray for long periods because they believe that somehow, their longer prayer might be more effective because of the length or amount of time they spend.
Jesus said this about that theory:
“And when you pray, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. So do not be like them [praying as they do]; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.
“Pray, then, in this way:
‘Our Father, who is in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
- Matthew 6:7-9
In contrast, other people prefer to pray for longer lengths to focus, show God sacrificial love, and to self-reflect. Whether long or short, genuine prayers that are given to God as a means to connect and build relationship are the type of prayers the Bible encourages.
5. Are there Certain Hours I Should Pray?
Some people teach that you should stay up until midnight, or that you should segregate certain times of the day for prayer, however, the Bible doesn’t specifically state that there is a greater effectiveness based on the hour of the day.
In fact, the Bible tells us that God isn’t connected to our time. He doesn’t use our clocks, and He’s not in a “time zone”. Instead, the hour references in the Bible are sometimes historic, and other times they’re symbolic.
For example, the references to midnight are symbols of:
- The time before a new day/season
- When you’re tired or lower in energy
- Or, when it seems dark around you (even spiritually dark)
Here is an example:
Therefore, be continually on the alert—for you do not know when the master of the house is coming, whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning—
- Mark 13:35
6. Can I pray anywhere or do I need to be in a certain location?
I’ve heard some people say they feel a greater connection to God when they pray in a historic location (like Israel), in a church building, in prayer closet, or near a cross. Most times, they feel the added connection because of the meaning the location has to them or their culture, however, the Bible doesn’t say you need to pray from a specific location.
Instead, the Bible says God is omnipresent, or everywhere at once, therefore, you don’t need to go to a place to commune with God. Instead, wherever you are, God is with you, so you can talk to Him.
There are warnings against praying in public for the sake of attention, and verses that encourage quiet and alone time with God, but there’s no scripture that prohibits prayer from anywhere you are.
A location-based prayer reference:
But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known. – Jeremiah 33:3
7. How often do Christian People Normally Pray?
The volume of prayers ranges from Christian to Christian. Some people pray before meals, and others don’t. There’s really no standard of how many times Christians pray per day, but it’s fairly common within churches I’ve attended that prayers before meals and bed is taught and recommended.
8. Why do some people say I should pray alot and others don’t?
The volume of prayers is based on a personal conviction. Some people feel convicted to pray very frequently, and others don’t have the same gut feelings. As a result, the recommendations for prayer frequency will vary.
9. How many times should I pray for the same thing?
Like each person, God has His own will.
Answering the question, “How many times should I pray for the same thing?”, is similar to asking, “How many times should I ask my husband to take out the trash before he does it?”. Hahahaha.
There’s no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to prayer volume or # of prayers for a solution. Instead, the scripture I’d recommend you take a look at is this:
Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. – Romans 12:2
10. Do I need to pray more if I have a big problem?
Most of the times when you have a big problem, you’re more likely to experience more stress and loss of emotional control. For this reason, it’s a good practice to pray because it’s a time to calm yourself, meditate, reflect, re-align with scripture, and re-establish emotional control.
However, there’s no scripture that says you need to pray more if you have a bigger problem–that’s up to you.
11. Are there Statistics about how many times I need to pray to get a result?
No. There are no known scriptures that prove you should pray 4 times for a result or 5. The volume of prayers before recieving an answer varies.
12. Do I go to Hell if I don’t Pray?
The Bible doesn’t specifically say “pray or go to hell”. Hahahahaha.
It does say that you need to stay “connected” to God in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, and prayer is a practice that helps to build connection with God.
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vineyard keeper. He removes any of my branches that don’t produce fruit, and he trims any branch that produces fruit so that it will produce even more fruit. You are already trimmed because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. A branch can’t produce fruit by itself, but must remain in the vine. Likewise, you can’t produce fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, then you will produce much fruit. Without me, you can’t do anything. If you don’t remain in me, you will be like a branch that is thrown out and dries up. Those branches are gathered up, thrown into a fire, and burned. – John 15: 1-6 (CEV)
Overall, there are many doctrines and religious practices about prayer that many people use to base their habits around. Instead, it’s most important to seek the Bible and the responses you recieve while praying to establish things like prayer frequency, prayer volume, and how to connect with God.
If you’d like to learn more about living life by God’s design, get started with the By God’s Design Manifesto here.