Prayer in the New Testament

What, why, when, where, and how about prayer in the NT?  προςευχομαι is the main word used, though there are others. I have listed some of the words for prayer.

Philippians 4.6

  • Prayer προσευχή proseuche (Strong’s 4335) prayer in general, petition or prayer always to God.
  • Supplication, δέησις deesis (1162) prayer for particular benefits, a request addressed to God.
  • Requests, αἴτημα aitema (Strong’s 155) the different requests within a prayer, a request.
  • Thanksgiving, εὐχαριστία eucharistia (1169) the grateful acknowledgement of God’s blessings. These all refer to prayer but look at prayer from a different aspect. See Trench, Synonyms, article 51.

Other words

  • Pray προσυεχομαι proseuchomai (Strong’s 4336) pray to God or a god.
  • Ask aιτεω aiteo ask for (Strong’s 154) e.g. John 14.13
  • Pray ευχομαι euchomai to speak to or make request from God, wish. (Strong’s 2172) e.g. 2 Corinthians 13.7
  • Ask ερωταω ask (Strong’s 2065) e.g. John 14.16


  • Matthew 5.44 pray for enemies.
  • Matthew 6.5-6 do not show off.
  • Matthew6.7 do not use meaningless repetition.
  • Matthew 6.9 pattern for prayer for the disciples: honor the Father, Messianic Kingdom come, disciples themselves. Προσευχομαι proseuchomai
  • Matthew 14.23 at times privacy is good.
  • Matthew 19.13 okay to pray for children.
  • Matthew 21.13 temple for prayer, not business.
  • Matthew 21.22 pray in faith.
  • Matthew 24.20 for historical events to be favorable to the need.
  • Matthew 26.36 at times privacy is good.
  • Matthew 26.39,42,44 pray for your desire but accept father’s will.
  • Matthew 27.46 Jesus call out to father in anguish. “My God, My God”.


  • Mark 1.35 early in morning and alone.
  • Mark 6.46 at times alone is good.
  • Mark 9.29 necessary for certain things to happen.
  • Mark 11.17 temple for prayer not business.
  • Mark 11.24 pray in faith.
  • Mark  11.25 forgive others first.
  • Mark 12.40 show off prayers brings judgment.
  • Mark 13.18 for historical events to be favorable to the need.
  • Mark 14.32,35,39 at times alone is good.
  • Mark 15.34 Jesus calls out to father in anguish, “My  God, My God.”


  • Luke 1.10 many praying at temple ritual.
  • Luke 3.21 Jesus prayed at his baptism.
  • Luke 5.16 at times, praying alone is good.
  • Luke 6.12 at times, praying alone is good, prayed all night.
  • Luke 6.28 pray for those who mistreat you.
  • Luke 9.18 at times, praying alone is good.
  • Luke 9.28 Jesus took special disciples off to pray.
  • Luke 11.1 disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray.
  • Luke 11.2 Jesus taught disciples’ prayer.
  • Luke 18.1 pray instead of loosing heart.
  • Luke 18.10-11 do not pray in self righteousness.
  • Luke 19.46 temple is for prayer not business.
  • Luke 20.47 show off prayer brings condemnation.
  • Luke 22.40 prayer keeps from temptation.
  • Luke 22.41 sometimes alone is good.
  • Luke 22.44 prayer can be extremely agonizing in critical situations.
  • Luke 22.45 Jesus prayed while prostrate or kneeling.
  • Luke 22.46 prayer keeps from temptation.
  • Luke 23.34 Jesus asking father to forgive them for crucifixion.
  • Luke 23.36 Jesus commits his spirit to the father—willingly dies.

John (main Greek words for prayer not used)

  • John 6.11 Jesus thanked God for the bread and fish.
  • John 11.41 Publicly thanked the father for the witness to the crowd, that he heard him about raising Lazarus.
  • John 12.28 Jesus asked father to glorify father’s name through the great crisis now.
  • John 14.13-14 Whatever disciples ask in Jesus name the father will do (ask in Jesus name indicates asking what Jesus asks) αιτεω.
  • John 14.16 Jesus asked the father to give Holy Spirit to disciples ερωταω.
  • John 16.23,24,26 If the disciples (in the future) will ask the father for anything in Jesus name, he will give it; ask so joy will be full; ask the father in Jesus name do (ask in Jesus name indicates asking what Jesus asks) ερωταω αιτεω.
  • John 17 Lord’s prayer (father glorify son with the father; for disciples, keep disciples in father’s name, they may be one, may have Jesus’ joy, keep them from evil one, sanctify them in father’s word; for all who will believe in Jesus, they may be one, world may believe father sent the son, that they all may be with Jesus and see his glory).


  • Acts 1.14 all the disciples continually devoted themselves to prayer while waiting.
  • Acts 1:24 pray for guidance based on God’s omniscience and omnipotence.
  • Acts 2:42 believers prayed often together.
  • Acts 3.1 apostles prayed at the specified time in the temple
  • Acts 6.4 apostles devoted themselves to prayer and ministry of the word.
  • Acts 6.6 prayed when dedicated the table servers.
  • Acts 7.59-60 Stephen when being stoned prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit,” and “do not hold this sin against them.” Shows his faith and his forgiveness of those stoning him.
  • Acts 8.15 Peter and John went to Samaria and prayed that the believers would receive the Holy Spirit.
  • Acts 9.11 Saul was praying while in Damascus right after his vision of the Lord.
  • Acts 9.40 Peter knelt and prayed before he restored Tabitha to life.
  • Acts 10.4 Cornelius’ prayers were honored by God.
  • Acts 10.9 Peter, reaching Joppa, prayed at the sixth hour, and has the sheet vision.
  • Acts 10.30-31 Cornelius’ prayers answered.
  • Acts 11.5 Peter, in Jerusalem, tells the circumcision party that while praying in Joppa he had the sheet vision.
  • Acts 12.5 the church fervently prayed for Peter’s release from Herod Agrippa I prison.
  • Acts 12.12 the church was praying for Peter’s release.
  • Acts 13.3 the church at Antioch commissioned—with fasting, prayer, and hands on—Saul and Barnabas to the mission work.
  • Acts 14.23 Paul and Barnabas appointed elders in the churches in Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch, after they had prayed and fasted.
  • Acts 16.13, when in Philippi Paul, Luke, and Silas anticipated a place for prayer and went there (Lydia).
  • Acts 16.25 Paul and Silas were praying while in prison.
  • Acts 20.36 before leaving Miletus Paul knelt and prayed with the elders he was leaving.
  • Acts 21.5 before leaving Tyre, Paul knelt on the beach and prayed with them.
  • Acts 22.17 Paul prayed in the temple in Jerusalem.
  • Acts 26.29 Paul prayed that Agrippa and the others would become believers, ευχομαι aorist middle optative.
  • Acts 27.29 Paul prayed for events to help—survive until daylight, ευχομαι imperfect middle indicative.
  • Acts 28.8 Paul prayed for the father of Publius and then healed him.


  • Romans 1.10 Paul prayed to be able to visit the Roman believers.
  • Romans 8.26 The Holy Spirit helps us pray.
  • Romans 10.1 Paul asks God that Israel be saved (δεησις  urgent request to God).
  • Romans 12.12 devoted to prayer (προσκαρτερεω attach oneself to, devoted to, persist in).
  • Romans 15.30-32 pray to God for Paul (συναγωνιζομαι to contend with, join in a common effort, share in a contest) plus (προσευχομη prayer to God, place of prayer). Pray for protection, that his service will be received, and after that he will come to Rome with joy and be refreshed.

1 Corinthians

  • 1 Corinthians 7.5 Paul advises that at times prayer can take precedence over sexual relations.
  • 1 Corinthians 11:4,5,13 Men should not have the head covered when in public prayer and women should pray covered (probably hair).
  • 1 Corinthians 14.13,14,15 Correcting misuse use of tongues; indicates best to pray with thought.

2 Corinthians

  • 2 Corinthians 1.11 help Paul and his workers by prayer and this will bring thanks to God for his provision (δεησις  urgent request to God).
  • 2 Corinthians 9.14 giving can motivate pray by the recipients for the givers, and thanks to God (δεησις  urgent request to God).
  • 2 Corinthians 13.7,9 prayer that the Corinthians will act right in their response to Paul and will be prepared spiritually.


  • Ephesians 1.15-19 Paul is motivated by the faith and love of the Ephesians (15). He repeatedly thanks God for them when he prays for them (16). Paul prays that they will have a spirit or attitude of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of God (17). They are believers who have had the eyes of their heart enlightened, and his prayer is that they will know the hope of his calling (the believers’ expectations), the glorious inheritance that God has for believers or the rich inheritance God possess in them, and God’s power to them (18-19).
  • Ephesians 5.20. A part of being filled with the [Holy] Spirit is giving thanks to God the Father in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Note the three items: thanksgiving, pray to God the Father, pray in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
  • Ephesians 6.18 we are to pray in the [Holy] Spirit, and be alert and persevere in prayer for all the saints.
  • Ephesians 6.19. Pray for Paul that he may proclaim the gospel clearly and confidently.


  • Philippians 1.4 Paul prayed with joy for the Philippians.
  • Philippians 1.9 Paul prayed that their love would abound (be more and greater in amount) more and more and be knowledgeable and discerning.
  • Philippians 1.19 proclaiming Christ combined with their prayers and the Holy Spirit’s work will deliver Paul.
  • Philippians 4.6 instead of letting things control and overwhelm you, pray with thanksgiving  (prayer, προσευχή prayer in general, petition or prayer always to God; supplication, δέησις prayer for particular benefits, a request addressed to God; requests, αἴτημα the different requests within a prayer, a request; thanksgiving, εὐχαριστία the grateful acknowledgement of God’s blessings. These all refer to prayer but look at prayer from a different aspect. See Trench, Synonyms, article 51).


  • Colossians 1.3 Paul also thanks God for the Colossians when he prays for them because he has heard of their faith in Christ and love for the saints.
  • Colossians 1.9 Paul consistently prays for the Colossians to be filled with the knowledge of God’s will (know it well) with wisdom and spiritual understanding so they may walk worthy.
  • Colossians 4.2 Be devoted to prayer, and pray with thanksgiving.
  • Colossians 4.3 pray that God will open doors for the word—to tell about Christ.
  • Colossians 4.12 earnestly labor in prayer for other believers that they may meet the highest standard and be fully convinced of God’s will.

1 Thessalonians

  • 1 Thessalonians 1.2 thank God for believers we minister to when we pray for them.
  • 1 Thessalonians 3.10 pray to fill up the what is needed in people’s faith (probably believing and Christian life).
  • 1 Thessalonians 5.17 pray continually (often).
  • 1 Thessalonians 5.25 pray for those doing ministry like Paul and his men.

2 Thessalonians

  • 2 Thessalonians 1.11 Paul consistently prays for those under his ministry. He prays that God will consider them worthy of his calling for them and fulfill their desire for ministry.
  • 2 Thessalonians 3.1 Paul asks the Thessalonian believers to pray for him and Silas and Timothy. Paul wanted the word of the Lord to spread and do its job.

1 Timothy

  • 1 Timothy 2.1 pray for others with a goal of our godly living so that others may be saved.
  • 1 Timothy 2.8 men in the church are to pray from a godly life, and pray without anger or arguments.
  • 1 Timothy 4.3-5 God originally created everything good for us. Marriage and food in the context are for our good  and we are to think about God’s provision for us, thank him for it, and pray that he will sanctify it for us. This replaces the food restrictions of the Mosaic Law. See Acts 27.35.
  • 1 Timothy 5.5 godly widows ought to be prayer warriors.

2 Timothy

  • 2 Timothy 1.3 Paul remembers Timothy night and day in his prayers—he prayers often for Timothy.


  • Philemon 4 Paul in thankful for Philemon when he prays for him.
  • Philemon 22 apparently Philemon was praying that Paul would visit him.


  • Hebrews 5.7 Jesus, in his great suffering before his crucifixion prayed that the Father would deliver him from death, which the Father did by resurrection.
  • Hebrews 13.18-19 the writer asks for prayer that he and those with him may live honorably, and that he may soon come to them.


  • James 1.2-8. Pray for wisdom to handle diverse trials. James 1.2-8
  • James 5.13 pray when you are suffering, James 5.14 Elders of the church should be summoned to pray for one ill, and that illness seems to be a disciplinary illness, James 5.15 Pray with faith for the ill person. James 5.16 Those with trouble between them (ill person and the one sinned against) should confess the sins to each other and  then pray for each other.
  • James 5.16. The prayer of a righteous person is effective and accomplishes much. This is Christian life righteousness.
  • James 5.17-18. Elijah is an illustration of one who prayed hard (prayed with prayer). God answered him.

1 Peter

  • 1 Peter 3.7 treat your wife with understanding and honor. If not one’s fellowship with God is harmed and his prayers are thwarted, hinder, more difficult and so less effective (εγκοπτω egkopto Strong’s #1465).
  • 1 Peter 3.12 the Lord listens to a righteous person’s prayers, not one practicing evil.
  • 1 Peter 4.7 be clear headed and use good judgment so one can pray effectively, especially when pressures are intense.

2 John

3 John 2 John prayed that Gaius would have as good physical health as his spiritual health.


  • Jude 20 we should pray when the Holy Spirit is directing our lives; pray when living by the Holy Spirit.


  • Revelation 5.8 the four living creatures and twenty four elders held bowls that had the prayers of saints; probably collected prayers of the tribulations saints. Old Testament priests offered incense, while these offered prayers instead of incense.
  • Revelation 8.3,4 prayers of the saints asking for judgment upon the earth.

Pray for those in ministry

  • Romans 15.30-32
  • 2 Corinthians 1.8-11
  • Ephesians 6.18-20
  • Colossians 4.2-4
  • 2 Thessalonians 3.1

From these passages what are the main thoughts about prayer and what are the prominent prayer requests?