20 Biblical Examples of Praying
The blood of Abel, the dirty, crimson stain seeping into the ground, the earthiest of prayers, rising like a silent scream to the ears of God. Unheard by his brother, but heeded down the ages, by other sisters and brothers. The blood of the lost, the discarded, the strewn, their raw voices calling out like a billion ghosts. Justice. Justice. Justice. Abel cries on.
The schemers set their murderous plot in motion. A royal decree to execute anyone who refuses to bow down to their own misguided ideology. Daniel meanwhile does what he always does, prays. Goes quietly to his room, no show, no fuss, looks up to heaven and gives his kind heavenly father the gift of his time.
The young Queen steels her courage, draws on her true grit, and prepares to lay her life on the line. She lifts her eyes to heaven, goes without food in order to focus on the one who can shift mountains, then she raises her fist and knock, knock, knocks on the king’s door.
He longs for things to change. So he falls on his knees, calls out for help and justice. Reminds his maker of the promises given. Then he stands, steels himself and does something.
Nehemiah 1 & 2
The carpenter plods into the desert, away from the spin and the hype, into that place where his feet crunch daily on dry sand and sharp rocks. Alone. No other humans for now. He goes into that wilderness, shuts the doors of life behind him, and spends time with his father. Learning, listening, growing.
Naomi stares at her daughter-in-law open-mouthed. This young woman’s declaration is extraordinary. Like a prayer, a statement of faith made before heaven and earth. A promise. The best promise ever. To stick by her, and to offer all she has, to Naomi and to her God. The words hang in the air like a divine missile, loaded with love, plunging into her desolate heart.
Desolation. Emptiness. A world gone wrong. And with hearts broken, the darkest rings circling their empty eyes, they pour out their sorrows, spit out their anguish. Not coming to their maker because life is good and all is well, but because the world is ship-wrecked and evil prospers. And their hearts break, ache, longing for truth and justice compassion and kindness to prevail. How long? How long?
Doing the impossible. Stopping. Setting aside the clamouring, the pressures, the deceptive pleasures, those things that only make the pit inside deeper. Reaching instead for the invisible God. Calming the chaos. Standing. Not in order to achieve success or claim a breakthrough. But to offer our time. Our moments. In worship. Stepping into the sunlight. Our stillness speaking volumes.
Psalm 27 v 14
She has no grand scheme, feels all at sea, her plans drifting around her. But she finds it within herself to pray a simple, ‘Yes’. To take this unexpected journey and see where it leads. She had one direction in mind, but now her life, her faith has taken her down a whole new road. And not an easy one.
Peter stares open-mouthed as the jail door swings open. Doors often swing open – but not by THEMSELVES! He has little idea that not far away, in a crammed house, a whole bunch of ragtag saints are sending up relentless prayers. His friend James is gone, but he finds himself miraculously locked outside another door, ignored by those praying for his release.
This is a quantum leap for him. A God you cannot pick up and shove in your bag. A God who is not merely tribal, not only about self-preservation. Another Deity entirely. The invisible God, and the unknown country ahead. If he stays put he’ll fade away, but if he takes this step, prays his growly muttered ‘Yes’, well, who knows?
He throws back his head and looks heavenward, a smile on his face. This is their time, the marginalised and overlooked, the powerless and humble. Reality revealed to them yet hidden from those too focused on their own agendas. Childlike trust rewarded.
Matthew 11 v 25-26
One feels himself lost, adrift, the other full of certain faith. One daren’t raise his face, almost as if he’s avoiding God’s CCTV, the other wants his features broadcast to the world. One wonders if he’ll ever get it together, the other knows he is well sorted. And yet, and yet… a twist. The lost one is found, the shameful one honoured.
Luke 28 v 9-14
The good news, anything can be brought and offered… the great, the good, the bad and the ugly. The sorrow and the frustration, the annoyances and blundering. The mistakes and mad moments. The deep longings and the flippant ones. The fear and doubts. We come as we are, not as we’d like to be. Masks off.
Philippians 4 v 6
She looks drunk. Her face red, her mouth moving randomly, repeatedly. Swaying a little as she kneels there. But no. She’s anything but. It’s her passion, her dedication, pouring out her deepest longings, her pain, her anguish. And it does not go unnoticed.
1 Samuel 1.12
All these years, all that time put in, all that waiting. Now here he is, hardly anyone else noticing. But the prayers have paid off, she is ready, tuned, able to spot the arrival of the unexpected God. Small, beautiful, vulnerable, fragile. And yet the one with freedom in his tiny fists. Her heart leaps.
His energy had once gone into praying for destruction, for dominance and dark oppression. Now gladness fills his mind, thankfulness and joy, he smiles as he prays for them. These beleaguered people who refuse to give up the treasure God has given to them.
Like a friend needing help in the midnight hour. Beating on her friend’s door, calling out, throwing gravel at the bedroom window. Refusing to let up until she has the help she needs. Or a penniless, marginalised, powerless no-hoper. Yelling through a posh judge’s letterbox for a wee bit of justice. Keep on asking, searching, knocking. Don’t give up.
Luke 11 & 18
We all long for peace and plenty and the ways of Jabez. Have days when we cry out and see the blessing. But on other days our cries are that of Job, full of questions and hurt, longing and trouble. Whether today is like Jabez or Job, everything is a valid prayer.
1 Chronicles 4 v 9 & Job 17
Worries. Thanks. Needs. Fears. Longing. Hopes. Kindness. Reality. Doubts. Desires. Regrets. Mistakes. Anger. Frustrations. Truth. Joy. Hurts. Laughter. Tears. Embarrassments. The currency of praying.
Philippians 4 v 6
They look to the night sky, their eyes wide with wonder. Their hearts lifted, awash with awe. The universe so vast, so mysterious. And as they study the stars they wonder at something else. That the God of all this, so massive and other, should be interested in them. So small. Like full stops on creation’s page. Yet not to the Creator, who sees them as individuals, unique and precious. His loved ones.