The Bible’s Strong Emphasis on Prayer
Enlarged June 28, 2023 (first published June 8, 2010)
David Cloud, Way of Life Literature, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061
The following is excerpted from Effectual Prayer in Perilous Times, a new Bible course available from
Nothing is more important in the Christian life and ministry, home and church, than effectual prayer.

The Word of God and the gospel and prayer are the most powerful things on earth. That a man can pray, and that the God in heaven will hear and will answer in His almighty power and infinite wisdom, how wonderful that is!

Prayer is the solution to every problem in the personal life, the home, and the church.

Prayer is the saint’s most valuable privilege, and it was purchased at great price by Christ’s blood.

In light of the following Bible facts about prayer, it has rightly been said,
“No prayer, no power; little prayer, little power; much prayer, much power.”

Prayer is mentioned at least 550 times in the Bible, 174 times in the New Testament, 35 times in Acts.

Christ was a Man of prayer. He prayed to the Father continually. He prayed at His baptism (Lu. 3:21); in the wilderness (Lu. 5:16); early in the morning (Mr. 1:35); on a mountain (Mr. 6:46); on the occasion when He taught the disciples to pray (Lu. 11:1-13); on the occasion of Lazarus’ resurrection (Joh. 11:41); on the Mt. of Transfiguration (Lu. 9:28); on the occasion of thanking God for revealing truth to babes (Lu. 10:21); in Gethsemane (Mt. 26:39); for Peter (Lu. 22:32); for all believers (Joh. 17:9). He prayed on the cross (Mt. 27:46; Lu. 23:34, 46).

Prayer is a major emphasis of Christ’s teaching. He conducted a school of prayer (Mt. 5:44; 6:5-15; 9:38; 17:21; 21:22; 26:41; Mr. 13:33; Lu. 11:5-13; 18:1-6).

Paul conducted a school of prayer. Prayer is mentioned 48 times in his epistles. He taught something about prayer in practically every one of his epistles.

James, Peter, John, and Jude mention prayer 11 times.

The prominent saints in the Bible were praying people (e.g., Enoch, Abraham, Hannah, Deborah, Samuel, David, Jehoshaphat, Hezekiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Nehemiah, Paul, Lydia).

Prayer is one of the four foundational characteristics of the first church in Jerusalem (“they continued steadfastly in the apostles doctrine and fellowship, and breaking of bread and PRAYERS,” Acts 2:42).

Prayer is to be “first of all” in the churches (1 Ti. 2:1-2).

Prayer is the first ministry of church leaders (“But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word,” Ac. 6:4). Note that prayer is to be continual. And note that prayer is put first, and that is because prayer is necessary for the ministry of the word to be most effectual. This is God’s plan. Paul plainly taught this.

God’s people are to continue instant in prayer (Ro. 12:12), to pray always (Eph. 6:18), to pray in everything (Php. 4:6), to continue in prayer (Col. 4:2), to pray without ceasing (1 Th. 5:17).

We are told that “ye have not, because ye ask not” (Jas. 4:2). This means that God requires His people to pray for everything they need, and lack of prayer results in lack of provision. In the life of every individual, home, and church, there are continual needs, and each one should be brought to God in prayer. His help and provision must not be presumed. In every church, for example, there is the need for love and unity, for spiritual growth, for spiritual victory, for power, for wisdom, for conversions, for the families, for the children, for the youth, for the pastors, for the preaching and teaching, for the evangelism, for workers for the harvest, for resources, etc. This requires a lot of prayer. It requires setting aside a lot of time for prayer.

The prayers of the saints are kept before the throne of God as sweet odors before Him and are effectual in producing His great works on earth. Prayers are mentioned at the opening of the seven-sealed book which contains God’s plan for overthrowing the rebellion on earth and establishing Christ’s eternal kingdom (Re. 5:8; 8:3-4). These are not the selfish prayers of nominal believers; these are not the prayers of those who pray for comfort and help while they live lukewarm, worldly lives; these are the prayers of the saints who are living according to God’s will and praying according to God’s will, like the saints recorded in Scripture.

Prayer is a major part of spiritual warfare in the battle for truth and righteousness in this present world. Paul mentioned prayer prominently in his description of the whole armor of God. “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints” (Eph. 6:18). The devil does everything he can to stop or hinder effectual prayer. He tries to make the saint think that his prayers won’t change anything, that it doesn’t matter whether or not he prays, or how much he prays. He tries to focus the saint’s attention on his sin and failings and cause him to become too discouraged to pray.

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