As I’ve transitioned from a college student to a young professional, I find myself relying more and more on prayer. Or at least noticing more the absence of prayer in my life. With all of the craziness that was 2020, I don’t know how I would have made it through without prayer—my own prayers and the prayers of my friends.
Looking back, I realize the significance and power of prayer in my life, in my relationship with the Lord, and in the world. Prayer changes things, and the following power of prayer stories from the Bible and the life of this young professional woman will show you how to unlock the power of prayer in your own life.
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Lessons about the Power of Prayer
I am guilty of overlooking prayer far too often. Sadly, when I am facing a trial, challenge, or hardship, my first response is not prayer. But thankfully, I serve a patient and merciful God.
When I come to my senses and remember the power of prayer, God is always there listening.
In my journey to becoming better at praying, I’ve been learning about prayer through sermons, praying with friends, and hearing others’ testimonies and stories about the power of prayer. With that, I’ve reminded myself to utilize the power of prayer more frequently in my day-to-day life. One way I do that is by remembering some of these lessons from Scripture about the Power of Prayer.
What is the Power of Prayer?
The power of prayer refers to how prayer is used to praise, confess, thank, intercede, and present requests before the Almighty and Holy God. It is rooted in the truth that Jesus has made peace between mankind and God and now intercedes on our behalf.
Before in our sin nature, we were unable to approach God. After Jesus’ death and resurrection, Jesus paid the penalty for our sins–death–and reconciled us to God. This reconciliation is the peace He made between us and God. It is what allows us to approach God with confidence, knowing that Jesus bridges the gap between God and mankind.
“Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”Hebrews 4:16 (ESV)
This is the power of prayer. That we can do all of these: praise, thank, defend, intercede, and present requests before God, and know confidently that God hears us. He recognizes us as His children because of what Jesus has done for us.
What does the Bible say about the Power of Prayer?
The power of prayer is emphasized throughout the Bible. Through prayer, saints in the Bible communicate with God, and God hears and responds to their prayers. In the New Testament, the gospel writers describe Jesus as constantly praying to God as well.
Saints pray for each other during trials and bless each other in their physical journeys and spiritual journeys, all the while thanking the Lord for the Christian brotherhood.
Scripture constantly reminds us to be consistently praying, persistent in prayer, thankful in prayer, and presenting our requests to God.
The Bible also talks about how prayer is our way to communicate and fellowship with God. Like any relationship, we have to invest time to get to know the other person. So when we commit to Jesus Christ and having a personal relationship with Him, prayer is one of the ways that we spend time with Him.
Power of Prayer Scriptures
The Power of Prayer is echoed throughout Scripture. Here are some of my favorite Bible verses that speak to the power of prayer. These scriptures and stories about the power of prayer demonstrate the importance of prayer and how it is used across different situations and trials, by groups and by individuals (including Jesus!) to speak to the living God.
- Matthew 7:7-11 – “‘Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!’”
- Colossians 1:9-12 – “And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy; giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.”
- Romans 12:12 – “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”
- Philippians 4:6-7 – “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
- Psalm 81:8 – “In distress you called, and I delivered you; I answered you in the secret place of thunder; I tested you at the waters of Meribah.”
Other Power of Prayer Verses and Lessons on Prayer Verses
6. Psalm 61:1-3 – “Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; from the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I, for you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy.”
7. Matthew 6:5-8 – “‘And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 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. And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.’”
8. John 17: 9,15-17 – “‘I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours…I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.’”
9. Romans 8:26- “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.”
Scriptures to Use When Praying
If I feel like I’m at a loss for words, I pick some scriptures to use when praying. The Bible covers the whole range of human emotions within its pages: happiness, joy, celebration, awe, fear, reverence, anger, bitterness, grief, mourning, disappointment, sadness, sorrow, heartache, pain… Whatever human emotion you are experiencing or trial that you are facing, you can find a bible verse or scripture passage that speaks to where you are in life.
To get you started, here are some of my favorite scriptures to use when praying:
- Psalms – This book includes psalms of praise, confession, redemption, forgiveness, longing, and more. Whenever I find a Psalm that stands out to me, I’ll read it out in a prayer to the Lord while adding a few sentences of my own here and there.
- “He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken. On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God. Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us.” Psalm 62:6-8
- Prayers and Songs of People in the Bible – In the Old and New Testament, there are prayers, poems, and songs from different people in the Bible. For example, in Luke chapter 1, Mary sings a song of praise out to the Lord (verses 46-56). The book of Job is full of verses of Job calling out to God and praying in his trials. These are just two examples of different prayers and songs of the saints that you can use when praying.
- Jesus’s Words and Sermons – In the four gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, the writers record Jesus’s words including His conversations with His disciples, His prayers to God, and His sermons. These are all great Scriptures to use when praying. Some favorite passages of mine to pray are John 10:10, John 16:33, and John 17.
- John 10: 10 – 15 – “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.’”
- Isaiah – I enjoy praying the Scriptures in the book of Isaiah because of the depth and breadth that they cover. It starts with God’s judgment on the Israelites, but also His promise for deliverance, which foreshadows the coming of Jesus, the Messiah. Most of the book is written in stanzas like psalms, so it’s easy to digest and pray in small snippets while adding in your personal prayer.
- Scriptures about the Power of Prayer – I will often pray the bible verses about prayer listed in the previous section to remind myself of the power of prayer. I echo the words of Jesus and the saints as I lift up my prayers to the Lord and pray for peace, joy, patience, and the Lord’s favor in my life and the lives of others.
- Scriptures about God’s Love
- Numbers 6:24-26 – This Scripture is one of my favorites to pray over friends, family, and loved ones. When I don’t have a specific prayer request, I feel that this scripture perfectly sums up the blessing I want God to send their way.
“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.”Numbers 6:24-26
Why is Prayer so Powerful?
Prayer is so powerful because it is communion and fellowship with God, who is all-powerful and almighty. It is not our power or might that makes prayer powerful, but the power and might of God, who listens to our prayers. The Creator of the universe, God is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent — all knowing, all powerful, and ever present. This is the God to whom we are praying, and He hears our prayers!
“Come, behold the works of the Lord, how he has brought desolations on the earth. He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the chariots with fire. ‘Be still, and know that I am God, I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!’ The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.“Psalm 46: 8-11
When we pray, we are in communion and fellowship with the Holy, Perfect God. He calls us His children and has lavished His love upon us (1 John 3:1). He knows us–our desires, our heart aches, our struggles, and our dreams (Isaiah 49:15-16 and Psalm 139:13-16).
So prayer is powerful, not because of us or how holy we act or which words we choose to pray. Prayer is powerful because God is powerful, and He has created us and loves us. He listens to our prayers and acts on our behalf, going before us to fight our battles and carrying our burdens for us.
Power of Prayer – Stories about Prayer from the Bible
In Luke 11, the disciples ask Jesus to teach them how to pray, and Jesus responds with the Lord’s Prayer (also see Matthew 6). Just as Jesus taught his disciples to pray, God teaches us how to pray in Scripture.
The Bible includes many stories that demonstrate the power of prayer and teach us how to pray. These scriptures, stories, and passages are just a sampling of the wonderful works of God in the Bible through the power of prayer.
Hannah and Samuel – Story about the Power of Prayer
The first story about the power of prayer that came to my mind is the story of Hannah, the mother of Samuel. Samuel was a prophet of God, the one that anointed King David. But before Samuel came on the scene, his mother Hannah was barren. Unable to have children, she prayed to the Lord earnestly, asking for him to allow her to bear a child.
“But Hannah answered, ‘No, my lord, I am a woman troubled in spirit. I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have been pouring out my soul before the Lord. Do not regard your servant as a worthless woman, for all along I have been speaking out of my great anxiety and vexation.’”1 Samuel 1: 15-16
The Lord heard her prayers and remembered Hannah, and she conceived and bore a son, whom she named Samuel. I am inspired by Hannah’s honesty, pouring her heart out before the Lord. In her anxiety and frustration, she turned to God, something that I want to imitate as well.
Daniel – Story about the Power of Prayer
In Daniel 9, Daniel poured out his heart in a prayer and sought the Lord with fasting. In his prayer, he makes a confession for Israel and asks for mercy.
“Now therefore, O our God, listen to the prayer of your servant and to his pleas for mercy, and for your own sake, O Lord, make your face to shine upon your sanctuary, which is desolate. O my God, incline your ear and hear. Open your eyes and see our desolations, and the city that is called by your name. For we do not present our pleas before you because of our righteousness, but because of your great mercy.”Daniel 9:17-18
As Daniel is praying, the angel Gabriel appears to Daniel later in the chapter with an answer to Daniel’s prayer. Gabriel came to bring the answer to Daniel at the start of Daniel’s prayer, and thus began to tell Daniel about the events that will unfold for Israel.
What stands out to me in this story about the power of prayer is Daniel’s reverence for God in his prayer. From his prayer, you can see that Daniel considered God to be holy, powerful, and mighty.
While recognizing the severity of the Israelites’ sin and rebellion, Daniel also believed God to be merciful, which is why He prayed for God to grant Israel mercy.
The fact that Gabriel brought his answer right away is also interesting to read about, since I often feel as if it takes forever for my prayers to be answered. But Gabriel’s answer in verses 24-27 predict the coming of Jesus, the Messiah, which happens 400 years after the end of the Old Testament. So, Daniel’s prayer is answered, and we know that God heard him immediately, yet, it took time for that answer to come to pass.
Samson’s Parents – Story about the Power of Prayer
In Judges 13, a man named Manoah and his wife prepared to welcome a child, Samson. Manoah and his wife were barren, having no children. Yet an angel appeared to the wife and told her that she would bear a child. When she told her husband, he went to the Lord in prayer:
“Then Manoah prayed to the Lord and said, ‘O Lord, please let the man of God whom you sent come again to us and teach us what we are to do with the child who will be born.’”Judges 13:8
God responded and sent the angel back to Manoah and his wife to speak to them. They offered a burnt offering to the Lord, and had a child, Samson, whom the Lord blessed.
In this story about the power of prayer, I admire how Manoah immediately went to the Lord in prayer to ask for wisdom and direction. Manoah understood that God was about to do a wonderful work for him and his wife, but still perplexed, as I would be, he prayed that God would teach him what to do.
Jesus’s Prayer – Story about the Power of Prayer
Before going to the cross, Jesus prayed for Himself, for His disciples, and for all believers (John 17). Knowing what’s coming–the crucifixion and the wrath of God–Jesus turned His face heavenward and prayed in the garden.
“And he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, saying, ‘Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.’ And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. And being in agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.”Luke 22:41-44
In His prayer, Jesus asks that the “cup is removed” and that He does not have to go to the cross. Reading in the following chapters about the crucifixion and the pain and suffering that Jesus endured, including facing the wrath of God, I understand why Jesus prayed this prayer. But what astounds me even more is that Jesus asked for the will of God to be done, even if it meant that Jesus would be crucified.
Not only am I overcome with awe pondering the love that Jesus must have for us to suffer on the cross on our behalf, but I am also thankful to Jesus for His obedience to God and God’s will.
The power of prayer is not just about getting the results we want. Even Jesus wasn’t granted his “wish” per se, but in Jesus’s obedience, we are offered salvation, for only through the cross can we have eternal life.In this story about the power of prayer, Jesus communicated with God, received power from heaven to strengthen Him, and affirmed his resolve to obey God.
Other Examples of the Power of Prayer in the Bible
Above, I mentioned that prayer is mentioned throughout the Bible, in stories and scriptures. So, in addition to the stories mentioned above, here are some other examples of the power of prayer in the Bible.
These examples highlight the importance of prayer and its prominence throughout the Bible. I hope these examples encourage you to kneel and experience the power of prayer as you talk to God, too!
- Examples of the Power of Prayer in the Bible:
- After his capture by the Philistines, Samson prayed to the Lord for strength so that he could tear down the Philistines’ temple (Judges 16:23-31).
- Elijah prayed for God to bring back the son of a widow. Elijah cried out to the Lord, and God heard him and revived the child. (1 Kings 17:17-24)
- Elijah set up an offering to the Lord and prayed to God to light the offering with fire and show the people that He is God above all. The fire of the Lord consumed the offering, the wood, the stones, the dust, and the water that had drenched the offering. (1 Kings 18:20-40).
- In the gospels, Jesus predicted that Peter would deny Him three times before the rooster crowed. Yet instead of pushing Peter away or scolding Him, Jesus prayed for Peter, that his faith wouldn’t fail and that Peter would strengthen his brothers in Christ once Peter returned to Jesus. (Luke 22:31-34).
- In his letters, Paul prayed for the different churches and people to whom he was ministering. One letter that stands out to me is 2 Timothy. In his greeting, Paul thanks God for and prays for Timothy.
“I thank God whom I serve, as did my ancestors, with a clear conscience, as I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day. As I remember your tears, I long to see you, that I may be filled with joy. I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well.”2 Timothy 1:3-5
Results of Prayer – Story of David and Bathsheba
No post on the power of prayer would be complete without discussing the results of prayer. While we can be confident that God answers prayer, that doesn’t mean that all of our prayers will be answered in the way that we want it.
God is not a genie; He is our Father in heaven.
As a Father wants the best for his children, we can be assured that God wants the best for us. However, fathers also say “no” or “wait” in order to protect us or prepare us for something better.
When talking about the results of prayer not always being what we hoped, the story of David comes to mind. In prayer and fasting, David asked God to save the son that he conceived with Bathsheba after committing adultery. Though David labored in prayer, the child died on the seventh day, and David mourned the death of his child (2 Samuel 11-12).
Prayer isn’t always answered in the way we planned or the way that we hoped. But in remembering God’s love for us and His character, as the just, faithful, kind, righteous God that He is, we can hold onto the truth that God hears us and wants the best for us, His children.
To finish the story, David was blessed with another child, Solomon, who inherited the throne. Another example about the results of prayer not always being a resounding “Yes” is the story of Job. Job lost everything and wrestled with God in pages of prayer and conversation. In the end, Job ended up with far more for he blessed the name of the Lord in his anguish.
“Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”Job 1:21-22
Power of Prayer Stories from My Life
In my own life, I’ve also collected stories about the power of prayer as I’ve been working hard to improve my prayer life. I’m usually pretty good at saying prayers in the normal, expected times of the day, before eating, before bedtime, before a long trip or car ride. I throw up these words that I’ve memorized or heard other people saying often, close my eyes, nod my head, and bam–considered myself “prayed.”
However, I realized in college that I was missing out. Prayer had become for me a checklist option.
One of those things that I do because I’m a Christian and other Christians do it and sometimes, we’d even do it all together, in a big circle, popcorn style.
While I made many strides to improve my prayer life in college and after college, there are 3 specific instances that stand out to me: three Power of Prayer stories from my time in three different countries. Each of my stories has taught me important lessons about prayer and how to pray better, just as the stories in the Bible do.
Florence, Italy – Power of Prayer Story & Lesson
The first lesson about prayer comes from the city of Florence, Italy, where I traveled with a fellow sister in Christ. We went to a laundromat and while I was busy fiddling with my clothes, my friend was sitting in one of the empty chairs with a very tiny notebook in her hand. Once everything was set in the washer machines, I walked over and asked her what she was reading.
“I’m praying,” she answered. And in that tiny notebook were withered, yellow pages, worn from being carried on all of her travels, and on each page, she had scribbled prayers, verses, praises, requests–anything and everything that she wanted to lift up to the Lord in prayer.
“”There was power in prayer for my friend because she was prepared to pray at any moment.
As someone always struggling to find words to say, why didn’t I go to the Lord with something already prepared? Not only my prayer requests (give me, give me), but also with my praises and even song lyrics or quotes and Scripture to express what my heart can’t find the words to say. And how could it be something that I could carry around and have as a constant reminder to pray.
Toronto, Canada – Power of Prayer Story & Lesson
The second of my three lessons for prayer came just after my senior year of college. I went with the college ministry at my church to do a mission trip in Toronto, Canada. Overall, it was an incredible experience, and one that I deeply cherish. I learned so much from the trip as whole, but one specific thing I learned relates to the power of prayer.
In our many interactions with the citizens of Toronto, our pastor encouraged us to pray for the people that we met, in person, and then later after the conversation had ended. That is when I truly learned the privilege of prayer. People were just in simple awe that we, college-aged Christians, had the confidence to stop, wherever we were, no matter what we were doing, and just pray to our almighty God–about them!
Because of Jesus, the lowly, the sinners, and the unclean can come before a righteous God and speak directly to him in prayer.
We don’t have to have just made a sacrifice or be standing in a temple or be dressed a certain way. As Christians, we can call on the name of the Lord and pray at any time, no matter where we are, or where we’ve been, or what we’ve done, or how we’re feeling. We can call on God and know that He hears us.
Barcelona, Spain – Power of Prayer Story & Lesson
Another meaningful lesson on prayer happened in Barcelona when I was visiting two chaplains that pastored the Anglican church in Barcelona and in Andorra. Shortly after I arrived, I spoke with a chaplain about how I was struggling to find a strong Christian community in Andorra. I was mid-sentence, or maybe she was, when a set of bells rang throughout their apartment above the church.
“It’s time to pray,” the chaplain said. “Join me.”
Leaning forward, the chaplain folded her hands in front of her.So I bowed my head as well, and she prayed for the next few minutes about our conversation and my upcoming trip and thanked God for all of his provisions.
After the prayer, she explained that these chimes ring 4 or 5 times throughout the day. No matter what you are doing, you are to stop and pray immediately. At first, I thought of these chimes as such a distraction. But as these chimes went off two more times during my visit and then even more times the second time I visited, I actually grew to like them.
As someone who struggles with prayer, it is entirely too easy for me to get so “busy” with life that I don’t remember to pray until it’s too late. Until I’m too worn out, or too stressed, or too discouraged.
I’ve always wanted prayer to be my first response, not only to challenging situations, but to everyday. And these bells were the perfect reminder that the ability to pray never goes away, and so whatever I’m dealing with at the moment, I can listen to the bells and immediately turn to the Lord in prayer. Having that physical reminder proved to help me turn to the Lord more and more.
- Related: God Comforts Us in the Chaos
Is Prayer Powerful and Effective?
To sum up, prayer is powerful and effective. Prayer is how we communicate with God, fellowship with God, and hear God’s voice.
As God is our Father in heaven, we know that He wants the best for us, that doesn’t mean always giving us what we ask for. The results of prayer won’t always be what we imagine, but that gives room for God to work in amazing ways in our lives and the lives of others.
In the stories of the Bible, God responds to the prayers of believers, saints, and His Son, Jesus. From Genesis to Revelation, His people cry out in prayer and God works wonders. From these power of prayer stories, we can know that prayer is powerful and effective, though not because of anything we have done.
Prayer is powerful because of who God is.
Be Encouraged by the Power of Prayer
I’m certainly not where I was when I started my prayer journey, nor am I where I would like to be. But by keeping these things in mind, I’ve made leaps and bounds.
In these times of uncertainty and high stress I encourage you to use these lessons on the power of prayer to fuel your prayer life and overcome fear. You have the privilege of direct access to the almighty God.
Pray specifically and pray frequently.
If you need something to remind you to pray, I recommend the Echo App. With the free version, you can record your prayer requests, paste in the text of a scripture, and then set a time for the app to send you a notification for you to pray. The reminders can be set for any prayer at any time you choose.
Eventually, these notifications will instill in you a habit: the battle is best fought on your knees.
How has prayer changed things for you?
Leave me a comment below!
Don’t miss this! More posts about Growing in Faith:
- 10 Actionable Ways to Show God’s Love to Others
- 5 Keys to Accepting God’s Love
- 5 Strategies for How to Remove Fear from Mind a
- 30+ Beautiful and Inspiring Verses about God’s Love
- Anchors for Handling Change
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