Prayer is such an important topic for Christians, but it’s also one that engenders a lot of confusion and even guilt. We understand the importance of prayer, but struggle to cultivate the practice. It’s because of this that there are so many books concerning prayer-whether that be on the theology of prayer or the practice.
Here are 40 moving and informative quotes about prayer to help you think about the topic. These quotes are broken down into six areas:
- Jesus: the object of our prayer
- What is prayer?
- How should we pray?
- Prayer as transformation
- The power of prayer
- Inspirational prayers
Jesus: the object of our prayer
One of our chief struggles is our tendency to put ourselves at the center of everything we do, and we tend to do this with prayer, too. We make prayer about us and our desires. When we don’t see the outcome we desire, we assume that we didn’t do some elements correctly.
Prayer is about realigning our focus around Jesus, and reminding ourselves that it’s His kingdom we serve, and that it’s the Receiver and not the pray-er that makes all the difference.
1. “Our prayers may be awkward. Our attempts may be feeble. But since the power of prayer is in the one who hears it and not in the one who says it, our prayers do make a difference.” – Max Lucado, He Still Moves Stones
2. “The goal of prayer is to live all of my life and speak all of my words in the joyful awareness of the presence of God. Prayer becomes real when we grasp the reality and goodness of God’s constant presence with ‘the real me.’ Jesus lived his everyday life in conscious awareness of his Father.” – John Ortberg, The Me I Want to Be: Becoming God’s Best Version of You
What is prayer?
Ask five Christians to explain prayer and you’ll likely get five different answers. Sometimes that’s because we each look at prayer a little differently, and sometimes odd ideas about prayer creep into our understanding.
Here are quotes about prayer that help clear up some of the misconceptions.
3. “For prayer is nothing else than being on terms of friendship with God.” – Teresa of Ávila
4. “True prayer is neither a mere mental exercise nor a vocal performance. It is far deeper than that – it is a spiritual transaction with the Creator of Heaven and Earth.” – Charles Spurgeon
5. “Prayer should not be regarded as a duty which must be performed, but rather as a privilege to be enjoyed, a rare delight that is always revealing some new beauty.” – E.M. Bounds
6. “Prayer does not fit us for the greater work; prayer is the greater work.” – Oswald Chambers
7. “The right way to pray is to stretch out our hands and ask of One who we know has the heart of a Father.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer
8. “Prayer is simply a two-way conversation between you and God.” – Billy Graham
9. “Prayer lays hold of God’s plan and becomes the link between his will and its accomplishment on earth. Amazing things happen, and we are given the privilege of being the channels of the Holy Spirit’s prayer.” – Elisabeth Elliot
10. “Prayer is the widest circle of influence we have.” – Peter Kreeft, Prayer: The Great Conversation
11. “Prayer is talking with God. God knows your heart and is not so concerned with your words as He is with the attitude of your heart.” – Josh McDowell
12. “There are parts of our calling, works of the Holy Spirit, and defeats of the darkness that will come no other way than through furious, fervent, faith-filled, unceasing prayer.” – Beth Moore
How should we pray?
Understanding what prayer is doesn’t necessarily mean that we know how to do it. When it comes to the practice of prayer, we all have a lot to learn.
13. “Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you.” – Augustine
14. “I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go. My own wisdom and that of all about me seemed insufficient for that day.” – Abraham Lincoln
15. “Prayer is not monologue, but dialogue; God’s voice is its most essential part. Listening to God’s voice is the secret of the assurance that he will listen to mine.” – Andrew Murray
16. “Any concern too small to be turned into prayer is too small to be made into a burden.” – Corrie ten Boom
17. “Begin each day with private reading of the Word and prayer.” – Jim Elliot
18. “This, I thought, is what is meant by ‘thy will be done’ in the Lord’s Prayer, which I had prayed time and again without thinking about it. It means that your will and God’s will may not be the same. It means there’s a good possibility that you won’t get what you pray for. It means that in spite of your prayers you are going to suffer.” – Wendell Berry
19. “We don’t drift into spiritual life; we do not drift into disciplined prayer. We do not grow in prayer unless we plan to pray. That means we must set aside time to do nothing but pray. What we actually do reflects our highest priorities. That means that we can proclaim our commitment to prayer until the cows come home, but unless we actually pray, our actions disown our words.” – D.A. Carson, A Call to Spiritual Reformation
20. “God is looking for people to use, and if you can get usable, he will wear you out. The most dangerous prayer you can pray is this: ‘Use me.’” – Rick Warren
Prayer as transformation
One of the beautiful things about prayer is that it’s more than a tool for doing the kingdom’s work. Through prayer, we commune with Jesus and the Spirit works on transforming our hearts.
21. “Be not forgetful of prayer. Every time you pray, if your prayer is sincere, there will be new feeling and new meaning in it, which will give you fresh courage, and you will understand that prayer is an education.” – Fyodor Dostyoevsky
22. “God never gives us discernment in order that we may criticize, but that we may intercede.” – Oswald Chambers
23. “A Christian fellowship lives and exists by the intercession of its members for one another, or it collapses. I can no longer condemn or hate a brother for whom I pray, no matter how much trouble he causes me. His face, that hitherto may have been strange and intolerable to me, is transformed in intercession into the countenance of a brother for whom Christ died, the face of a forgiven sinner.” ― Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Christian Community
24. “We are to pray in times of adversity, lest we become faithless and unbelieving. We are to pray in times of prosperity, lest we become boastful and proud. We are to pray in times of danger, lest we become fearful and doubting. We are to pray in times of security, lest we become self-sufficient.” ― Billy Graham
25. “To pray is to change. This is a great grace. How good of God to provide a path whereby our lives can be taken over by love and joy and peace and patience and kindness and goodness and faithfulness and self-control.” ― Richard Foster, Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home
26. “The story of Christian reformation, revival, and renaissance underscores that the darkest hour is often just before the dawn, so we should always be people of hope and prayer, not gloom and defeatism. God the Holy Spirit can turn the situation around in five minutes.” ― Os Guinness
27. “Prayer does change things, all kinds of things. But the most important thing it changes is us. As we engage in this communion with God more deeply and come to know the One with whom we are speaking more intimately, that growing knowledge of God reveals to us all the more brilliantly who we are and our need to change in conformity to Him. Prayer changes us profoundly.” ― R.C. Sproul, The Prayer of the Lord
28. “We tend to be preoccupied by our problems when we have a heightened sense of vulnerability and a diminished sense of power. Today, see each problem as an invitation to prayer.” ― John Ortberg, The Me I Want to Be: Becoming God’s Best Version of You
29. “Not being changed by prayer is sort of like standing in the middle of a spring rain without getting wet. It’s hard to stand in the center of God’s acceptance and love without getting it all over you.” ― Steve Brown
30. “The more you pray, the less you’ll panic. The more you worship, the less you worry. You’ll feel more patient and less pressured.” ―Rick Warren, The Purpose of Christmas
The power of prayer
So what does prayer accomplish? As these three quotes would indicate, it accomplishes a lot.
31. “God does nothing except in response to believing prayer.” – Charles Wesley
32. “It is possible to move men, through God, by prayer alone.” ― Hudson Taylor
33. “We must talk to God about men before we talk to men about God.” ― Bill Bright
Throughout history, people have relied on the prayers of others for inspiration. Here are six powerful prayers that you can pray for yourself or use as inspiration for your own conversations with God.
34. “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
when there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
Grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand,
to be loved as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying [to ourselves] that we are born to eternal life.”
― Francis Of Assisi
35. “Grant me, O Lord my God, a mind to know you, a heart to seek you, wisdom to find you, conduct pleasing to you, faithful perseverance in waiting for you, and a hope of finally embracing you. Amen.” ― Thomas Aquinas
36. “Lord, teach me to be generous;
Teach me to serve you as you deserve;
To give and not to count the cost;
To fight and not to heed the wounds;
To toil, and not to seek for rest;
To labor, and not to ask for reward –
except to know that I am doing your will.” ― Ignatius of Loyola
37. “God, teach me to be patient, teach me to go slow,
Teach me how to wait on You when my way I do not know.
Teach me sweet forbearance when things do not go right
So I remain unruffled when others grow uptight.
Teach me how to quiet my racing, rising heart
So I might hear the answer You are trying to impart.
Teach me to let go, dear God, and pray undisturbed until
My heart is filled with inner peace and I learn to know your will.” ― Helen Steiner Rice
38. “Give me the Love that leads the way
The Faith that nothing can dismay
The Hope no disappointments tire
The Passion that’ll burn like fire
Let me not sink to be a clod
Make me Thy fuel, Flame of God”
― Amy Carmichael
39. “Lord, when I feel that what I’m doing is insignificant and unimportant, help me to remember that everything I do is significant and important in your eyes, because you love me and you put me here, and no one else can do what I am doing in exactly the way I do it.” ― Brennan Manning
Where do I start?
If we can learn anything about prayer, it should be that there isn’t a magic formula. We often make prayer more difficult because of our tendency to overthink it. If we simply press into Jesus and share our hearts with Him, prayer becomes as natural as breathing.
40. “The single most important piece of advice about prayer is one word: Begin!” ― Peter Kreeft, Prayer For Beginners
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