There is no denying the power of prayer in scripture which is why I want to share these Bible stories about prayer with you. They are meant not to simply be a happy, praise God kind of story, but one that is life-changing for you.
I want to prove to you that prayer works and that by making it a part of your life, it will grow your faith and change your circumstances in ways you might not expect.
What do Bible Stories about Prayer Teach Us?
Bible stories about prayer teach us many things.
- God hears us
- Faith counts
- With God, nothing is impossible
- Be persistent in prayer
- Sometimes God’s answer is no
We are going to dig deep into prayer with this post. Let’s begin with Bible stories about prayer and then move onto examples of prayer to help us understand the different elements as well as touch on parables about prayer.
5 Bible Stories About Prayer
Let’s go over five Bible stories about prayer as they provide excellent examples of how prayer can change our lives and simply provide proof that it actually works.
The story of Hannah is one of my favorites. In part because God gave her the desire of her heart and in part because she remained faithful and gave Samuel back to Him. Knowing the entire story, we can see God at work from her infertility through Samuel’s death, but of course, Hannah couldn’t see into the future and we can fully relate to her pain, faith, and joy.
We meet Hannah in 1 Samuel chapter 1. She is married to Elkanah who loves her dearly. He is a faithful man of God and goes to the tabernacle yearly in obedience to God’s commandments. It is at this yearly assembly that we hear of Hannah’s pain.
Not only has God closed her womb, but her husband’s other wife has several children and taunts Hannah relentlessly. She prays fervently to the Lord in her pain, moving her lips and sobbing, but keeping her words silent.
Eli, the high priest, thinks that she is drunk and chastises her. She quickly explains that she is not drunk but heavy in heart and is pleading with God. Eli tells her to go her way and may the God of Israel grant her request.
Hannah’s entire disposition changes at this point. She believes God has heard her and will grant her the desire of her heart.
Her faith is not disappointed and she gives birth to a little boy, Samuel, within the year.
Perhaps God blessing Hannah should be the highlight of the story, but her faithfulness is what shines the brightest to me. Once Samuel is weaned (which was around three years old in those days) she fulfills her promise and brings Samuel to the high priest to begin his service to the Lord.
God continued to bless Hannah with three more sons and two daughters and Samuel grows up to be the last judge of Israel.
For a deeper study on Hannah and what we can learn from her, check out “Lessons from Hannah in the Bible: The Pain of Infertility”.
Pin this for later so you can reference these inspiring stories again!
Hezekiah was king of Judah and his life has two big prayers recorded. He lived in politically dangerous times found in 2 Kings 18-20 in which the king of Assyria was extending his kingdom and conquering the nations around him.
His military was strong and fierce and one nation after another fell to them. Israel had already and Judah was next. As the threat approached Judah, the first thing he did is noteworthy.
And so it was, when King Hezekiah heard it, that he tore his clothes, covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the house of the Lord. (2 Kings 19:1)
He went straight to God. He didn’t meet with his ministry of defense, he didn’t meet with his chief captains, he humbled himself and went to God.
The captain of the Assyrian army taunts the people of Judah reminding them that they have conquered all of the nations around them. He tells them that no god can save them now. Listen to Hezekiah’s prayer. I just love it.
And Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers, and read it; and Hezekiah went up to the house of the Lord, and spread it before the Lord.
Then Hezekiah prayed before the Lord, and said: “O Lord God of Israel, the One who dwells between the cherubim, You are God, You alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. Incline Your ear, O Lord, and hear; open Your eyes, O Lord, and see; and hear the words of Sennacherib, which he has sent to reproach the living God.
Truly, Lord, the kings of Assyria have laid waste the nations and their lands, and have cast their gods into the fire; for they were not gods, but the work of men’s hands—wood and stone. Therefore they destroyed them. Now therefore, O Lord our God, I pray, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You are the Lord God, You alone.” (2 Kings 19:14-19)
And in response to Hezekiah’s prayer, God sends an angel who killed 185,000 Assyrian soldiers in their sleep. Of course, this freaks everyone out and the remaining return to their homes.
God uses Hezekiah to reveal His power once again when Hezekiah becomes very sick. The prophet Isaiah tells him to get his house in order because he is going to die.
Hezekiah prays and God responds favorably and tells Isaiah how to heal Hezekiah. For some reason unknown to me, Hezekiah pushes things and asks for a sign that God had heard him and would heal him. In response to this God moves time back ten drees on the sundial. (no one knows exactly what this sundial looked like or how it was divided up but ten degrees is about twenty minutes on most sundials).
Story of Elijah Praying for the Widow’s Son
Elijah’s life is full of the power of God in a magnitude we have never witnessed in our day and we could prove the power of prayer based solely on his life. However, that would be too lengthy for this post so I am going to include just one incident for this collection of Bible stories about prayer.
After Elijah brings on the three year drought as a result of Israel’s idolatry, God hides him next to a brook and instructs ravens to bring him food. As a result of the drought, the brook dries up and God leads Elijah to the home of a widow and her son.
She is scraping the bottom of her barrels of oil and meal to feed her and her son their last meal when Elijah shows up and asks for something to eat. The woman agrees to give the last of their food to this prophet and God rewards her with an abundance of meal and oil.
Elijah continues to live with them and things are going as well as they possibly could in the face of a three year drought for this woman and her son when suddenly the boy becomes sick and dies.
Elijah appears to be just as confused at this as the woman is. Of course, she accuses him. How is it that God sent him to her house, she gives him the last of her food and then God takes her son? Had he come only to remind her of her sin and punish her?
This is Elijah’s response.
Then he cried out to the Lord and said, “O Lord my God, have You also brought tragedy on the widow with whom I lodge, by killing her son?” And he stretched himself out on the child three times, and cried out to the Lord and said, “O Lord my God, I pray, let this child’s soul come back to him.” Then the Lord heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came back to him, and he revived. (1 Kings 17:20-22)
For more about this story and what we can learn about the widow and her son, check out “Does God Test Our Faith? The Story of the Widow of Zarephath”
Jesus Prays in the Garden
It is the Passover and Jesus knows he is the lamb to be sacrificed this year. His father had been promising this day since Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden. He was to overcome sin and death, his true purpose of coming to earth, the culmination of his ministry.
This prayer is no ordinary prayer.
Jesus, feeling heavy and fearful of what is about to transpire goes to the Garden of Gethsemene to pray. He asks Peter, James, and John to pray with him, but they are tired and fall asleep. Jesus is alone in his fear.
“O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” (Matthew 26:39)
This has to be one of the most well known prayers in scripture. The human side of Jesus is seen and his example of submission and obedience are evident like never before.
Jesus prays this same prayer three times. Three times he goes back to his disciples and finds them sleeping. They do not sense his urgency or his distress. Which I find strange. Were they really clueless about what was going on? (no judgment from me, I can’t even count how many times I’ve been clueless about God’s work).
But back to Jesus. There is something different about this prayer that is not seen in the previous Bible stories about prayer. There is no miraculous reply.
Jesus knew what he had to do. This brings me to the most important point I can make with this post. Your prayers are not always answered the way you hope. This does not mean that God does not hear you.
God had a plan for His son and while I have no doubt that He comforted Jesus during this time of distress, He did not provide a way out.
We can learn three things from Jesus’s prayer in the garden:
- We don’t pray only to get the result we want. We pray for God’s will in our lives
- We need to pray with an attitude of humility
- We accept when God’s answer is no
Examples of Prayer in the Bible
As you can see in these Bible stories about prayer, there are no hard fast rules about how to pray or what to say. Each of these examples is simply words expressed from burdened hearts. If you struggle to know how to pray, please understand that prayer is simply a conversation between you and God. There is no right or wrong way to pray.
That being said, Jesus does give us an example of prayer in the Bible.
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen. (Matthew 6:9-13)
In this example, we learn that prayer consists of praise and acknowledgment of who God is as well as the confidence to ask for help. It also reminds us that our lives are spiritual and the things going on in the world around us are spiritual as well.
Before Jesus gives us this example of prayer, he teaches us a few things (Read Matthew 6:5-8).
- Do not make a show of praying but be content to pray in secret
- Do not be repetitious
- Know that God knows what you need before you even pray
What Parables are about Prayer?
One last Bible story about prayer comes in the form of a parable. I feel as if this could be an entirely different blog post so I’m going to be brief with this one and write more extensively later. There is just way too much to cover on the topic of Bible stories about prayer and what we can learn from them!
Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart, saying: “There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man. Now there was a widow in that city; and she came to him, saying, Get justice for me from my adversary.’
And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, ‘Though I do not fear God nor regard man, yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.’
Then the Lord said, “Hear what the unjust judge said. And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. (Luke 18:1-8)
What is the take away from this parable about prayer? “that men always ought to pray and not lose heart”. God hears, do not give up! Persistence in prayer is a good thing!
Actually, I have a post on that! Check out “Persistence in the Bible: A Mother’s Faith”.
Ok! That somewhat concludes this post on Bible stories about prayer. I feel as if I have so much more to say and more examples are flooding my brain, but we are going to stop here because this is getting long.
Please leave your thoughts in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you!