Different Types Of Prayer Found In The Bible

by David Peach · Print Print · Email Email

There are many different types of prayers found in the Bible; some given by name and others by example. There is also variation in how people categorize various prayers in the Bible. Here is a good list to get you started in studying the different types of prayers in the Bible for yourself. I trust these descriptions will help you in your study and that they will encourage you to look for these prayers for many years to come as you study God’s Word.

Prayer of Thanksgiving

Philippians 4:6 and Colossians 4:2 tell us to pray with thanksgiving. Psalm 95 and 100 tell us to enter into the presence of God with thanksgiving. When Christ prayed He often gave thanks (Matthew 15:36; 26:26, 27; Luke 22:19). Praying with thanksgiving should be a regular part of our prayer life.

Paul tells us in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 that praying with thanksgiving should be a regular course of communication with God. It is the will of God for us to pray with thanksgiving. This is not something that should be reserved for one special time of year, but we should always have an attitude of thankfulness.


Along with being thankful, Paul tells us in Philippians 4:6 that we should pray with supplication. The idea of supplication is that of asking. It isn’t just asking God for something on behalf of others (which is an intercessory prayer), but supplication is more a prayer for oneself. We see this prayer often in the Psalms where David is asking God for help in a particular area of his own life.

If you do a search for the word supplication in the Bible you will find almost 60 instances of the word. In almost every case it is talking about the person asking God for something on their own behalf. It occasionally mentions praying in supplication on behalf of others. The point being that it is not arrogant to pray for your own needs. God welcomes you with open arms when you take your genuine requests for help to Him.

 What is important is that we have the relationship with the Lord through prayer in the way He desires.

What is important is that we have the relationship with the Lord through prayer in the way He desires.

Intercessory Prayer

Interceding is typically thought of as praying on behalf of others. It means to intervene between two people, to speak on behalf of someone to another person. Another word that is found in the Bible that is used in this way is the word intreat. It means to beg or implore. Many times in the Bible it is used in the same way as the word intercede.

Paul tells Timothy in 1 Timothy 2:1 that intercessory prayer (along with several other types of prayer) should be given on behalf of all men.

Imprecatory Prayer

You won’t find this word in the Bible, but it is a type of prayer that is associated with King David. To imprecate means to curse or speak evil toward someone. When David used this type of praying it wasn’t as a form of exacting revenge. Rather, David used it as a way to show agreement with God’s judgment and sovereignty over evil. A few examples of this type of prayer are Psalms 7, 35, 55, 58 and 59.

David’s prayers (and the imprecatory prayers of others in the Bible) were not hateful or vengeful. We are told by the Lord to pray for our enemies in Matthew 5 and Luke 6. The context for both of those passages is loving our enemies and praying for their good. As we pray for our enemies God often works in our own hearts to love them more even though they are undeserving of our love.

Corporate or Public Prayer

The book of Acts teaches much about corporate prayer. The disciples and the early church were involved in public prayer. In the first couple chapters of Acts it seems that the church services were mainly made up of prayer. Decisions in the early church were accompanied by prayer. This is seen in the choosing of the first deacons (Acts 6:1-6) and when they sent out the first missionaries (Acts 13:1-3).

Closet or Private Prayer

In Matthew 6:5, 6 the Lord tells His disciples to pray privately. Certainly there is nothing wrong with public prayer, but we should not pray to be seen of men. The example that Christ uses is the hypocrites who pray out loud—and loudly—so that they can be seen by others. Private prayer is a time of personal relationship with the Lord. We get our term closet prayer from this passage in Matthew.


A prayer of worship and a prayer of thanksgiving both focus on God. However, while the prayer of thanksgiving focuses on what God has done, the prayer of worship focuses on who God is. We see this in Jesus’ model prayer for the disciples. He says to pray in worship and honor to who God is (Matthew 6:9-13 and Luke 11:2-4).

Prayer of Consecration

This is a type of prayer that the Lord used as a confirmation and dedication to the will of the Father in Matthew 26, Luke 22 and Mark 14. We see another example of this in Hannah’s prayer dedicating Samuel to the Lord (1 Samuel 1:24-28).

Prayer of Faith

James says the prayer of faith will heal the sick (James 5:15). This is a prayer that is offered in confidence knowing that the Lord will answer. Of course, we are taught in 1 John 5:14 how that we can know God hears us and will answer; by praying in His will. When our prayers are in line with His will, then we can have that confidence of the prayer of faith.

Prayer is Communicating with God

God wants to have a relationship with us. We are given several different types of prayer in the Bible. You may lump some of these prayers together as one type and you may also find other types of prayer than what I have listed. That is fine. What is important is that we have the relationship with the Lord through prayer in the way He desires. Spend time studying God’s Word and the many examples of communicating with Him.

Philippians 4:6 is a great verse to help you get started in your study of prayer: “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”

Take a look at this related article: What Does the Bible Say About Prayer?

Resource – Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, King James Version

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