If you ask any believer in Christ — even a mature believer — if he is satisfied with his prayer life, it is likely that you will receive a negative response.  Most believe that they could pray more frequently, pray longer, pray more broadly for more people, and pray more intimately, enjoying the practice of communing with God.

It appears it has always been that way, as the disciples also asked the Savior, “Lord, teach us to pray just as John also taught his disciples” (Lk. 11:1).  It was evident to them that there was some component to prayer that was deficient in their lives and they desired transformation.

Jesus’ answer (a shortened version in Lk. 11:2-4 and a longer version in Mt. 6:9-13) teaches the disciples how to address God (as Father and as sovereign in Heaven), how to worship God (“hallowed be Your name”), how to pray for His purposes (“Your kingdom come, Your will be done”), how to pray for personal needs (“give us this day our daily bread”), how to confess sin in prayer (“forgive us our debts, as we have also forgiven our debtors”), and how to prepare for sin’s enticements (“lead us not into temptation…”).

That short prayer does indeed serve as a fitting model for how to pray.  Yet the Scriptures are filled with much more instruction about how to pray and with models of people who prayed.

As you seek to stimulate your own prayer life, you might consider reading and meditating on some of the following passages.

To prepare for prayer through confession:

  • Neh. 1:4-11
  • Ps. 32:3-5
  • Ps. 139:23-24
  • Dan. 9:1-19
  • Mt. 5:23-26
  • 1 Jn. 1:9

Prayers of adoration and worship of God:

  • Ps. 99:1-5
  • Pss. 120-134
  • Pss. 145-150
  • Jer. 10:6-7
  • Lk. 1:46-49
  • Rom. 11:33-36
  • 1 Tim. 1:16-17
  • Jude 24-25
  • Rev. 5:12-13

Prayers to encourage you to pray:

  • Rom. 12:12
  • Rom. 15:30-33
  • Phil. 4:6-7
  • Col. 4:2
  • Eph. 3:14-21

Prayer requests for others (both believers and unbelievers):

  • Rom. 1:8-12
  • Rom. 10:1
  • Rom. 15:5-6
  • Rom. 15:13
  • 1 Cor. 1:4-9
  • 1 Cor. 16:23
  • 2 Cor. 1:3-7
  • 2 Cor. 2:14-16
  • 2 Cor. 12:7-9
  • Gal. 6:18
  • Eph. 1:15-23
  • Eph. 3:14-21
  • Eph. 6:19-20
  • Phil. 1:3-6
  • Phil. 1:9-11
  • Phil. 4:23
  • Col. 1:9-14
  • Col. 4:2-4
  • 1 Thess. 1:2-4
  • 1 Thess. 2:13-16
  • 1 Thess. 3:9-13
  • 2 Thess. 1:3-12
  • 2 Thess. 2:16-17
  • 2 Thess. 3:2-5
  • 2 Thess. 3:16
  • 1 Tim. 1:12
  • 1 Tim. 2:1-4
  • 2 Tim. 1:3-7
  • 2 Tim. 1:16-18
  • 2 Tim. 4:22
  • Titus 3:15
  • Philemon 4-7
  • Philemon 25

It might also be beneficial to place that list of verses in the front of your Bible or copy it into your prayer journal so that when you are stuck with what to pray or how to pray that you have these reminders so that you can stimulate your prayer on a given day.

Similarly, I also will often ask four questions to guide my praying:

  • What have I learned about God today? (a worship question)
  • How and where have I sinned? (a confession question)
  • For what am I thankful? And for what am I neglecting to give thanks? (a gratitude question)
  • What are my spiritual needs and what are the spiritual needs of others (a supplication question)

While all of us may struggle at times with the effectiveness of our prayer lives, it is encouraging to realize that the Lord has given us so much instruction and encouragement to guide our prayer lives.  Now we must get to work practicing and implementing what He has given us.