Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. - Psalm 119:105


Learning to Pray from Old Testament Personalities

By Dr. Richard J. Krejcir
Some of the most important examples and principles of prayer can be found in the Old Testament accounts of the relationship between different people and God.

Some of the most important examples and principles of prayer can be found in the Old Testament accounts of the relationship between different people and God.

These prayers are worthy of careful study as a means to build our own life of prayer. We can learn from them why people prayed, how they prayed, and what happened when they prayed. A partial list of some of the more significant prayers is listed below:

Abraham: Genesis 18

Jacob: Genesis 32

Moses: Exodus 3-4; Exodus 32

Hannah: I Samuel 2

David: Psalm 51 (see 2 Samuel 11 ) ; Psalm 139

Solomon: I Kings 3; 2 Chronicles 6

Elijah: I Kings 19

Elisha: 2 Kings 6:8-23

Hezekiah: 2 Kings 18-19

Jehosophat: 2 Chronicles 20

Ezra: Nehemiah 9

Isaiah: Isaiah 6:1-8

Jeremiah: Jeremiah I: 1-10

Jonah: Jonah 2

1. Read the passage through to gain an understanding of the historical and personal situation of the person praying. Who is praying and why?

2. Outline the prayer. Identify each separate idea expressed. What are the parts of the prayer? What is said to God about God? About the person or people praying? About the situation? What request is made? What confession? What praise and thanksgiving?

3. Ask: What do I learn about God from this prayer? About the people of God? About myself and my situation? What parts of this prayer can I pray? Which parts are strange to me? What challenges my faith? How did God answer this prayer? How do I want him to answer me? How will I wait for His answer?


Ephesians 1:15-23 3:14-19

Philippians 1 :3-5 1: 9-11

Colossians 1:3-5 1 :9-14

I Thessalonians 1:2-3 5:23-25

II Thessalonians 1: 11-12 3:1-2

Philemon 4-6

Hebrews 13:20-21


Ask and Seek these power points:

1.What is the setting, occasion or context for the prayer?

Who is praying for whom?

2. Is anything said about the One being prayed to? What names, titles, or characteristics of God are mentioned and highlighted in the prayer?

3.Is there a statement of thanksgiving? What is Paul thankful for?

4.What requests or petitions are made on behalf of the Christians? List each clause separately. Are there any cause and effect relationships suggested in the prayer? E.g. I ask for. . . so that. . . will be true. What pronouns, connectives, adjectives, adverbs, verbs are used?

5. Is there a central or main thought expressed in the prayer?

Why did Paul pray this, do you think? Why does he think this is important?

6. Attempt to restate the requests made in your own words.


1. Write or carefully think your way through the various statements of the prayer placing yourself in the prayer. What are you thankful for? What characteristic of God mentioned can you rejoice in? How are the needs expressed in the prayer your needs? How do they challenge your faith and life? Pray each request for yourself as seems appropriate.

2. Whom do you need to pray for? Go through the prayer putting in the person or group of persons for whom you are concerned. Move each general petition to make it as specific as possible towards the people for whom you are praying.

"Help them to have the knowledge of your will in the decisions being made about. . .  (1984) R.J. Krejcir

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