Video by Got Questions Ministries

It was the most earnest prayer I had ever heard. My friend Sarah sat with eyes squeezed shut, and hands clenched together.

In whispered anguish, she begged God for healing mercy upon her mom who had just been diagnosed with cancer.

I felt honored to pray alongside Sarah that night. Yet her fervent words also exposed how narrowly I typically pray. My prayers seemed to always linger around the same requests—usually more stuff for a comfortable life.

Sarah’s raw cry for help exposed how complacent my prayer life was. There had to be more to this conversation with God.

In the months ahead, I asked other friends about their prayer lives. Sue’s face lit up describing early morning worship times—just praising God’s beauty sans any requests.

My cousin Paul shared the importance of confessing his daily struggles to maintain purity.

Over coffee, Pastor Brian told me He frequently prays spontaneous one-liners amidst his hectic schedule. When I asked what those little prayers say, Brian laughed. “All kinds! Help me love this person, God. Grant me patience. Thank you for today’s provision!”

Each testimony revealed new types of prayer I had never considered. These friends conversed with God in deeper ways than my laundry-list approach.

Becoming intrigued, I searched the scriptures to discover the prayer life Jesus modeled…

The Gospels unveiled Jesus praying short-breath prayers (blessing the bread), all-night prayers (before selecting His disciples), thankful prayers (at Lazarus’ tomb), and long intercessory prayers (John 17).

Apparently, I had only grasped the tail of the “prayer kite” whipping wildly overhead!

As I dug into the Book of Acts and the New Testament letters, Paul and other apostles taught extensively on prayer’s vital role for every believer. 

That’s when I embarked on an expedition to categorize the types of prayers modeled throughout the Bible.

From David to Daniel, Moses to Martha, I observed at least ten prayer formats people used to connect with our Creator.

This journey transformed my prayer life from a spiritual duty into an exhilarating adventure…

Why Study the Types of Prayer?

Key Bible Verses About Prayer

Before surveying the major types of prayer, it helps to understand why this study matters:

  1. God’s Word shows us how to pray: From the Psalmists to the Apostles, we can learn how to approach God from biblical models of prayer.
  2. Different types of prayer enrich your prayer life: By praying in many ways, your relationship with God will deepen and grow.
  3. Prayer is more than just asking for stuff: Petition is important, but prayer also includes praise, confession, intercession, and more.

Expanding your vision for prayer opens up new horizons of intimacy with our Heavenly Father. As you explore the types of biblical prayer, expect to encounter God in fresh ways.

Now, let’s explore the major kinds of prayer revealed in the Bible.

1. Prayers of Adoration

Prayers of Adoration

Prayers of adoration focus entirely on who God is. These prayers praise God and exalt His character, majesty, and deeds.

Adoration is prayer in its purest form—prayer that asks for nothing but celebrates the beauty of God’s presence. The Book of Psalms provides many examples of adoring prayer:

“I will exalt you, my God the King; I will praise your name for ever and ever.”

Psalm 145:1 (NIV)

When you adore God, you proclaim truths like:

  • God is holy, righteous, and just.
  • God is all-powerful, almighty, and sovereign.
  • God is love, gracious, and merciful.

Adoration declares that God is supremely valuable above all else. Let your prayers dwell on the unsurpassed grandeur of the Lord!

Example adoration prayers:

  • “God, your steadfast love endures forever!”
  • “Lord, you alone are worthy of all glory, honor, and praise.”
  • “Your ways are higher than our ways. You see the end from the beginning. Thank you for your wisdom and guidance.”

2. Prayers of Confession

Prayers of Confession

Prayers of confession acknowledge your sins before God and seek His forgiveness. These prayers allow you to maintain an honest relationship with your Creator.

Scripture encourages confession so that your fellowship with God can be restored:

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

1 John 1:9 (NIV)

Confessing your sins keeps the communication lines open between you and God. He promises to forgive you when you humbly admit your faults and mistakes.

Example confession prayers:

  • “Lord, I confess I have not loved you with my whole heart this week. Please continue to work your truth into my inner being. Help me to walk in step with your Spirit.”
  • “God, I have spoken rash words against friends and family. Cleanse me from this sin and reset my heart.”
  • “Father, I confess my selfish actions and attitudes. Grant me a renewed mind to consider others more significant than myself.”

3. Prayers of Thanksgiving

Prayers of Thanksgiving

Prayers of thanksgiving express gratitude to God for what He has done. Thanking God reminds us of His provision and care.

The Apostle Paul frequently encouraged giving thanks in prayer:

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

Philippians 4:6 (NIV)

Giving thanks exalts God’s gracious kindness towards us. Thanking Him for answered prayers also builds your faith when making future requests.

Example Thanksgiving prayers:

  • “Father, thank you for saving me and adopting me as your precious child.”
  • “Lord, I’m grateful for the gift of family and friends. Thank you for placing supportive people beside me.”
  • “God, thank you for being with me and guiding me through every season of life.”

4. Prayers of Supplication

Prayers of Supplication

Prayers of supplication express your needs and make requests to God. Asking God for help lies at the heart of supplication.

Supplication covers all aspects of your life—physical, emotional, financial, relational, and spiritual. Nothing is too small to present to our Heavenly Father.

Paul teaches us, along with thanksgiving, supplication should permeate our prayers:

“In every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

Philippians 4:6 (NIV)

Keep bringing your personal needs and burdens to the Lord. Your cares matter to God, and He invites you to cast them upon Him!

Example supplication prayers:

  • “Lord, please give me wisdom and clarity as I make this difficult decision.”
  • “God, I ask you to meet my financial needs according to your glorious riches.”
  • “Father, I need your strength and comfort as I face this health challenge.”

5. Prayers of Intercession

Prayers of Intercession

Prayers of intercession lift up someone else before God. We intercede on behalf of family, friends, coworkers, leaders, neighbors—anyone the Lord brings to mind.

Paul encouraged intercessory prayer for all types of people:

1 I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.”

1 Timothy 2:1-2 (NIV)

Keep a running list of people who need prayer. Ask the Lord to work powerfully on their behalf as you intercede for them.

Example intercession prayers:

  • “God, I lift up my friend Tom to you. His marriage is suffering right now. Speak to both Tom and his wife and reconcile them.”
  • “Lord, I pray for favor and blessings over my pastor as she leads our congregation.”
  • “Father, I plead for your comfort upon those grieving the loss of a loved one.”

6. Prayers of Petition

Prayers of Petition

Similar to supplication, prayers of petition make specific requests to God. Petition focuses more directly on one single need at a time.

Jesus gave us bold permission to keep asking, seeking, and knocking in our petitions to God:

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”

Matthew 7:7 (NIV)

Petition prayers help center and concentrate your conversations with God. Don’t hesitate to keep petitioning—God remains always open to hear your heart!

Example petition prayers:

  • “Lord, open the right door of opportunity for a new job.”
  • “Father, provide a loving Christian spouse for me in your perfect timing.”
  • “God, please heal my child’s illness and strengthen her body.”

7. Prayers of Imprecation

Prayers of Imprecation

This unusual type of prayer asks God to enact revenge or judgment against evil. Typically, imprecations invoke God’s wrath upon the enemies of God.

The most vivid imprecations come from King David’s pen, such as this example:

“Pour out your wrath on the nations that do not acknowledge you, on the kingdoms that do not call on your name.”

Psalm 79:6 (NIV)

Because we now live under grace, some debate whether imprecation remains appropriate for today.

Ultimately, the safest posture lies in asking God to handle final vengeance against injustice in His time and way.

8. Prayers of Agreement

Prayers of Agreement

Prayers of agreement or corporate prayers apply Jesus’ special promise when believers pray in unity. He specifically taught:

“Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.”

Matthew 18:19 (NIV)

Agreement prayer declares shared trust in God’s will and power when two or three friends join in focused petition or supplication.

Praying with a common mind and spirit with other Christians can yield powerful results—try it!

9. Healing Prayers

Healing Prayers

Prayers for emotional, spiritual, or physical healing request God’s direct intervention in broken areas of life. God still heals in miraculous ways today!

The Book of James gives instructions for calling church elders to pray for the sick:

14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.”

James 5:14-15 (NKJV)

When battling sickness, disease, depression, or emotional trauma, ask church elders and close friends to petition the Great Physician to heal you and restore you to wholeness.

10. Contemplative Prayers

Understanding Inner Peace And Purpose

Contemplative prayers include meditation, listening, and silent reflection as key components.

Rather than continually talking to God, contemplative prayer highlights listening for His still, small voice.

The Psalmist models a quiet, receptive spirit before the Lord:

“For God alone my soul waits in silence and quietly submits to Him, for my hope is from Him.”

Psalm 62:5 (AMP)

Build contemplative space into your hectic life. Silence, solitude, and meditation welcome profound encounters with the Lord.

Try adding intentional times of “listening prayer” during your prayer times. Quiet yourself, consider scriptural promises, and then attentively tune your spiritual ears to the Holy Spirit’s gentle nudges.

Ways to Boost Your Prayer Life

Talk To The Holy Spirit

Exploring prayer through a biblical lens equips us to engage God more purposefully in our daily communion with Him.

Consider incorporating these tips:

  • Maintain variety: Employ different biblical prayer types to keep your prayer life fresh and multi-dimensional.
  • Use Scripture to guide your prayers: Praying Scripture centers your mind and heart around God’s words versus simply your own desires or thoughts.
  • Journal key prayer promises: Write down biblical promises to inspire ongoing faith and expectation from God. Refer back to these journaled prayers frequently.
  • Pray with fasting: Occasional fasting combined with prayer yields incredible results in your walk with Christ.

Key Takeaways on the Types of Prayer

  • Many forms of prayer exist beyond just petition and supplication. Exploring these will deepen your connection with God.
  • Studying the prayer types in the Bible teaches us how to pray according to biblical models.
  • Each type of prayer has value and purpose. Scheduling different biblical prayer forms leads to a rich, robust prayer life.
  • Watching and waiting through contemplative prayer makes space to hear God’s voice amidst life’s noise.
  • Praying in agreement and intercession blesses others and invites spiritual breakthroughs.

The Bible unveils a spectrum of ways to pray to our Heavenly Father. Approach His throne of grace boldly. Link arms in agreement. Plead, worship, and listen.

However you pray, keep pursuing intimacy with God. He wants us to pray and seek Him diligently!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What are the 7 most common types of prayer?

A. The 7 most common prayer types include:

  1. Prayers of adoration.
  2. Prayers of confession.
  3. Prayers of thanksgiving.
  4. Prayers of supplication.
  5. Prayers of intercession.
  6. Prayers of petition.
  7. Prayers of agreement.

Q. How many different types of prayers are there?

A. While one could categorize prayers in various ways, most biblical scholars identify between 12-15 different expressions of prayer in the Scriptures.

My list explored the 10 most prominent types revealed in the Bible’s pages.

Q. What type of prayer did Jesus pray?

A. The Gospels portray Christ Jesus modeling all types of prayer, including prayers of submission, blessing, thanksgiving, intercession, petition, and declarations of faith.

For example, John 17 records Jesus’ lengthy intercessory prayer for the disciples and all future believers.

Q. What is the most powerful prayer in the Bible?

A. While all biblical prayer unleashes spiritual power and change, Jesus provides a short, potent prayer example in Matthew 6:9-13.

This “Lord’s Prayer” embraces adoration, petition, intercession, repentance, and submission to God’s will—all in concise form.

Q. What Book of the Bible focuses most on prayer?

A. Without question, the Book of Psalms provides the most vivid and plentiful examples of prayer.

Around half of the Psalms directly address God in very intimate, expressive prayers of pain, joy, anger, repentance, worship, and more.

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