Did you get some verses wrong concerning prayer?




I am a Christain who attends a Church of Christ.  In a search to assist me in my study of God's word I came across your site.  I happened to be gleaning over the Scriptures listed in reference to prayer and was surprised to find that some of the Scriptures given did not fit the subtitle given.

For example: "To Whom Should We Pray" : Isaiah 57:15 and 66:1-2 makes no mention of prayer, gives no direction specifically as to whom we should pray.  Romans 8:26 also does not make mention of whom specifically we should pray, it simply states that the Spirit makes intercession for us.  Hebrews 7:25 also does not make mention of to whom we should pray, in fact if you read the other verses before and after it, its about Christ as the high priest and his sacrifice for us.  Matthew 6:9 is the only Scripture reference given that actually makes mention of praying to God.

I simply make mention of this as concern for fellow Christians and other who may come across your site.  Thank you for your time.

Thank you for taking time to point out some possible problems in the web site. The entire site is being maintained by just myself and there are times when I mistype information. The problem, though, in this case is not a typo, but a misunderstanding of how prayer is mentioned in the Bible. Every instance of prayer does not necessarily includes the word prayer (which means "worship"). For example, "I exhort therefore, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and givings of thanks, be made for all men" (I Timothy 2:1). Petitions (or supplications), prayers, intercessions, and thanksgiving are all forms of communicating with God, but only one of the descriptive terms is the word "prayer."

In Isaiah 57:15 we read, "For thus says the High and Lofty One Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: "I dwell in the high and holy place, with him who has a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones."" Here God speaks of reviving the spirit of the humble and the contrite. It is addressing those who approach God with a proper attitude and to whom God will respond. As James says, "But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble"" (James 4:6). Though it can include other aspects of our lives, it does include prayer.

In Isaiah 66:1-2 we read, "Thus says the LORD: "Heaven is My throne, and earth is My footstool. Where is the house that you will build Me? And where is the place of My rest? For all those things My hand has made, and all those things exist," says the LORD. "But on this one will I look: on him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at My word." The reference to God's house is to the Temple where Israel offerred up worship to God. God is saying that He is not restricted to a particular place; that is, it is not true that a person must go to the Temple to offer up prayers or petitions and get them heard. God hears the poor and contrite of spirit, no matter where they may be. The idea of God looking on a person, is the concept of God listening to his pleas. "This poor man cried out, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles" (Psalm 34:6). If God is the one who listens and answers, then it is to God to whom we pray.

In Romans 8:26 we read, "Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered." Here I should have included verse 27, "Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God." The "he" in verse 27 is God, the Father. God searches the hearts of men who pray to him (verse 26) and knows the mind of the God, the Holy Spirit, as well. Thus, as the Spirit takes up the pleas made in prayer to God, he intercedes on the behalf of Christians praying to God based on the will of God.

In Hebrews 7:25 we read, "Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them." The "he" in this passage is Jesus Christ, whom as High Priest intercedes for those who come to God through him. "Intercession" is entreating on another's behalf. Thus there is the concept of approaching God's throne for the purpose of making supplications and Christ taking up our requests on our behalf before God. Therefore the requests are being made to God, the Father, and being enhanced by the intercessions of God, the Son.

Having just a list of passages isn't always the clearest way of teaching a concept. But it is my hope that these spur your studies and help you find other ways to look at the same concepts that you might not necessarily get by simply looking up a word, such as "prayer" in a concordance.

See also:

Questions and Answers regarding Prayer