Prayer – It is a gift to us from our loving heavenly Father, a gift that wields mighty power. We know these things. Yet, I have to stop and ask, “Do we really KNOW them?” I ask because there are so many (including myself) who struggle with the work of prayer. For instance, we let it get crowded out of our day by other things. We lose focus. And sometimes we even allow our prayers to become vague or mechanical.
If this is you, if you find yourself in a season of struggle with prayer, let these Bible passages encourage you.
7 Scripture Passages for Encouragement in Prayer
1 Timothy 2:1
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions,
and thanksgivings be made for all people,
In his first letter to Timothy, Paul addresses exactly what true gospel living is to look like. And it shouldn’t surprise us that one of the first things he mentions is prayer (1 Timothy 2:1-15).
As I read this passage, there are a couple of things I notice. First, Paul uses the word, urge. In other words, this is not a simple suggestion or request. The verb used here indicates that prayer is of utmost importance.
Secondly, I catch the various words used in Paul’s list: supplications, intercessions, and thanksgivings. And I understand that my prayers are not all to be of one kind running the risk of becoming rote and mechanical. No, Paul is calling for many types of prayer taking many types of form.
And these prayers are to be made for everyone. This includes the adult child who refuses to let us share our faith and their children whom we fear will never come to know Christ. And it includes the grandchild who has embraced an alternative lifestyle and their broken-hearted parents. As well, it includes prayer for the salvation of a grandchild, the baptism of a child, or the surrender to a holy call. All types of prayer for all people.
Arise, cry out in the night, at the beginning of the night watches!
Pour out your heart like water before the presence of the Lord!
Lift your hands to him for the lives of your children…
Wow! Is this not a call that speaks volumes to grandparents and parents alike? Not only are we called to repentant prayer but to prayer that is prompt, constant, and unconstrained. We are to “arise” from whatever we feel buried beneath and “cry out.” Day or night, even when others sleep, we are to “pour out [our] heart.” And we are to pour it out “like water before the Lord” with our hands lifted high – for our children!
There is freedom in prayer. When we go to God in prayer, we have the freedom to be sincere and honest, to open our hearts and minds and emotions, and to lay the burdens that weigh so heavily upon us before Him. In prayer we find the freedom that comes from giving to our loving Father what we ourselves cannot control.
And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,
praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end,
keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,
We must understand that we are in a battle against spiritual forces of evil (Ephesians 6:10-18). “[Our] adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). “Someone” includes our children and our grandchildren.
Rather than sitting idly back, we must take up our weapons, all of which according to Ephesians 6:18 are rooted in prayer. This most powerful weapon is to be one “at all times,” “with all perseverance,” and “for all the saints.” In essence, prayer is to permeate our lives.
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace,
that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
The phrase “draw near” appears several times in the book of Hebrews and is used consistently to picture a person approaching God. For believers in Christ, this encouragement implies that we have the privilege of a personal relationship with the God of the universe.
But there’s even more than that great news! Not only are we encouraged to draw near, but we are told to do so with “confidence.” In the Greek, this word means with boldness or courage especially with reference to speaking before someone of great rank or power.
Christian grandparent, Christian parent, isn’t it comforting to know you may come before God (with proper reverence, of course) and speak your heart plainly and honestly, without fear? And you can be sure that when you do you will “receive mercy” and “find grace to help” whatever the need.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication
with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God,
which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
“Do not be anxious.” Right there it is in black and white. Why is it so difficult for us to live this? Especially when it comes to our children and grandchildren!
Here, Paul echoes the teaching of Jesus’ from the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6:25-34). In both passages, we see that believers in Christ are not to be overcome with anxiety but are instead to trust their heavenly Father, whose peace will guard them. Just picture it! The peace of God Almighty “guards” us. The Lord Our God is sovereign over all. He is in control, and we can trust Him with all our worries and hurts.
1 John 5:14–15
And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according
to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask,
we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.
“He hears us.” There is so much in this passage, but that one little nugget is enough to encourage even the weariest of souls. Don’t we all want to be heard, especially when we hurt or are carrying a heavy burden? Well, we are heard and not just by anyone. And of that we can be sure!
The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. (KJV)
I love the wording of this verse in the King James Version. It is so powerful and offers such encouragement for prayer. Let’s notice three words in particular.
“Effectual” – The root word (effect) means to make something happen. This implies “work.” And in fact, this word “effectual” comes from the Greek word meaning “work.” Personally, I don’t know any grandparents or parents who don’t want their prayers to work!
“Fervent” – Some Bible translations use the word “earnest.” Either way, we’re talking about diligence. We are to be intentional, constant, and persistent in our prayers.
“Availeth” – Do you hear the echo in this verse? Effectual? Availeth? Again, we have the idea of bringing something about or producing results.
Is this not encouragement for the work of prayer? We (grandparents, parents) can absolutely have prayers that are powerful in action, that work, and produce results.